Letter to the Editor: response to vaping

Principal warns about dangers of vaping.

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[Read this commentary to catch up on the topic]

Bowie, I think we have a problem. Vaping is out of control!

You see everyone doing it. People post about it on social media. You think, let me just try it once. They are really small and easy to hide. It looks cool to blow out a bunch of smoke and they say it tastes like candy.

I get it. When I was in high school Motley Crue released “Smoking in the Boys Room” and R.J. Reynold created “Joe Camel” as a mascot for their cigarettes.

But let’s stop and think about this. That little liquid pod in the Juul has as much nicotine as is in 20 cigarettes. And who knows what else? We all know that there are all kinds of toxic chemicals in cigarettes, and JUULs are marketed to adult smokers as a “safer” alternative to smoking. Well everything is safer than smoking cigarettes! So now at least Juul has added a warning that shows their product contains nicotine.

What about the flavors? Who do we think they are marketing to with flavors like s’mores, fruit loops, and cotton candy? Over 7,000 flavors! Why? No adult smoker needs that many flavors and packaging that looks like candy to switch over. So while we are waiting to see if these products actually help smokers quit smoking, we are actually addicting another generation to nicotine. If that is supposed to help adults switch in a competitive market of tobacco products, is it really helping kids start smoking? This is a HUGE step back.

It is more than just the chemicals that we expect to inhale something burning. They have to use some chemical to create the flavor. Those chemicals have been proven to cause a disease called popcorn lung. What is worse, metals leach out of the heating coil so that you are actually inhaling more heavy metals like lead, nickel, chromium, and arsenic (a well-known poison.)

Maybe that is why Juul announced this month that they are eliminating some of their social media accounts and halting most retail sales of flavor products. Juul is taking action to show that they are restricting access to minors in response to the US Food and Drug Administration’s announcement they were investigating Juul’s sales and marketing practices. They are also looking at ways to ensure that online sales and retailers comply with the age 21-year old age requirement, in addition to restricting flavors to just vape shops and not convenience stores.

What are they trying to tell you? That using this stuff isn’t good for you. In other words, just DON’T do it.

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