Vaping is still a mystery as research continues


Vaping just as bad as cigarettes
Gabriella Ruiz

Many smokers and even non-smokers believe vaping is safer for their health compared to using cigarettes. However, what people don’t realize is that instead of being a safer alternative, vaping has led to the deaths of at least a dozen people.

According to the American Lung Association, about 5,700 kids are being introduced to a vape device every day.

Young people are influenced to think e-cigarettes are safer compared to smoking cigarettes. They seem to believe that when they vape, they aren’t hurting themselves. But that’s likely because they don’t know what chemicals are produced in these vapes.

One approach has been to introduce age restriction on vape products. Vape 360 confirms that in different states, the age ranges from 18–21 years old to purchase a vaping product. Even still, vaping for underaged teens has become an epidemic that has been leading to deaths and illnesses.

Over the years, vaping has taken the form of cigalikes, pods, pens, mods, Juuls and many more. These e-cigarettes contain aerosol that include harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde, aerolein, and most importantly, nicotine. The American Lung Association states that by inhaling these chemicals, people are putting their lives at a risk. These toxic substances can cause asthma, cardiovascular heart disease, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and even lung cancer.

Recently on ABC News, an ordinary 18-year-old teenage girl named Simah Herman almost lost her life from becoming addicted to smoking a cartridge a day. A whole cartridge is akin to smoking a box of cigarettes. Herman realized what smoking was doing to her health. While hospitalized with a tube of oxygen pumping through her body, Herman’s first response was to ask for a pen and paper to write the statement, “I want to start a no vaping campaign.”

Shelley Martinez-Lopez, an RN and Associate Director at TAMU-CC University Health Center, believes that she wouldn’t use the term “bad” for vaping, but she does consider it unhealthy. Lopez also said that there isn’t a lot of research on vaping compared to normal cigarettes and alcohol.

At the University Health Center, patients walk in with respiratory problems, such as shortness of breath, that may or may not have had to do with the use of vaping.

“We tell the patients what are healthy habits for a healthy lifestyle in making recommendations or different changes that they can do for their health,” said Lopez.

Freshman Emily Haddon said that vaping is smoking in general and when people vape, they are hurting the environment.

“I think vaping is bad mainly because of the effects smoking has on your lungs and throat,” said Haddon. “It’s not healthy and it’s also extra plastic being used that doesn’t need to be used.”

As of Sept. 24, 2019, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed at least 805 people sustained lung injuries due to vaping. The CDC stated that 12 people from 10 states have died. Vaping isn’t as safe as most college-aged people think, and even though there may not be a lot of research on it yet, the question of risk still holds true.

Freedom of choice is all or nothing
Miguel Gutierrez

President Trump has recently discussed banning the sale of non-tobacco e-cigarettes and vapes nationwide. This would be a huge mistake, as well as an infringement on the right to do with our own bodies as we so please.

The proposed ban has come in light of an increase in the number of minors who have become addicted to products such as Juul. Though there is no denying that this has become a problem over the past few years, this simply is not the appropriate response to the problem.

First, it will affect millions of adult legal consumers of e-cigarettes. According to a report from the Center for Disease Control, “About 3.7% of adults (in the U.S.) currently used e-cigarettes every day or some days … ,” which translates to roughly 9 million adults.

The same study concluded that there are nearly as many adults aged 25–44 that use these products as there are adults aged 18–24. This tells us that, contrary to popular belief, a large amount of adults over the age of 25 use these products.

In addition, about one in four recent former smokers have been able to quit by switching to these e-cigarette products. A study has shown that these adults now prefer non-tobacco flavors, which is what the proposed ban wants to target.

According to the Harm Reduction Journal, “Adult frequent e-cigarette users in the USA who have completely switched from smoking cigarettes to using e-cigarettes are increasingly likely to have initiated e-cigarette use with non-tobacco flavors and to have transitioned from tobacco to non-tobacco flavors over time.”

In addition, the study concludes that “restricting access to non-tobacco e-cigarette flavors may discourage smokers from attempting to switch to e-cigarettes.” No one is arguing that the use of e-cigarette products is safe. Though the harms have yet to be proven, most people agree that there are health risks associated with these products. There is, however, proof that e-cigarettes and vapes have significantly fewer health risks than smoking.

Public Health England released a study citing that e-cigarettes are as much as 95% healthier for your body than traditional tobacco usage. Again, this study does not maintain that e-cigarette products are safe, rather that they are a better alternative than smoking. Thus, the option should be provided to the consumer.

This of course does not address the number of people who start using these products and who are not making the switch from traditional tobacco usage. To address this problem, we must look at the situation from a moral standpoint.

No one is responsible for your own health decisions other than you. It is vital that we understand this concept, or this could lead to a vast majority of restrictions further down the road. Unlike smoking, there is absolutely no evidence supporting the idea that by using these products, a person affects anyone other than themselves.

So, this is basically the government telling the citizens of this country that they are not to be trusted with e-cigarettes because they pose a potential health risk to the consumer. By this logic, why stop at e-cigarettes? Why not ban tobacco usage altogether? After all, there are thousands of Americans who start smoking each year, and that has been proven to be far worse than e-cigarettes.

We could also apply this logic to almost anything that poses a potential health risk, including drinking alcohol or consuming unhealthy food and drinks. Freedom of choice is all or nothing. Either you believe that we have a right to consume whatever we so desire, as long as it does not directly affect others, or we do not.

It would be different if the United States had a universal healthcare system in which taxpayer money would be used to fund the healthcare of each citizen, tobacco user or not. However, here, we do not. Everyone is responsible for the payment of their own healthcare, therefore, everyone is responsible for their own health and only their own health.

As a free American, take a stand for your liberty and show your opposition to an outright ban on flavored e-cigarettes, no matter if you like the products or not.