E-cigarettes: an inventive way to get more addicted

National legislation fighting poor decisions as students vape more often

There are always trends that come out of nowhere, that take the nation — if not the world — by storm. Back in the early 2000s when Heelys, the questionably “stylish” tennis shoes with wheels in the heels, were released and every single middle-school kid “needed” to have them. The same is true for Silly Bandz, iPhone and designer clothes. We all need to have these things because of their incredible popularity.

In the age of trend-setting and fad-obsessiveness, a new and extremely popular item has become an interest to some and an infatuation to many. Electronic cigarettes, the most common being Juuls, can be seen in the hands or mouths of millions of people around the world. They are small, inexpensive and easily accessible. Unfortunately, this new trend directly affects the health of all who inhale the product on a consistent basis, and unlike other trends that come and go with the wind, this fad has people hooked.

With anti-smoking commercials flooding our screens almost constantly, we are continuously reminded of the dangers of cigarettes and nicotine within them. Cigarettes are highly addictive, and have countless negative effects, including risks of cancer, organ damage and even death.

To add to the issues that come with cigarettes, and any tobacco products for that matter, vaping is extremely difficult to wean off. People often experience withdrawal from cigarettes for an entire month after quitting, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking cigarettes is just as much of an addiction as any other drug, even though the side effects aren’t as extreme as some narcotics and opioids. The addictive quality is still the same.

An issue arises when that period of transition from smoker to non-smoker never happens.”

— Taylor Renk

In an effort to wean off cigarettes instead of going entirely cold turkey cigarettes were created as an alternative to conventional smoking. Because consumers are addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes, creating an alternative inhalant that still has the addictive substance in it (but without all of the other harmful chemicals) seems like a beneficial way to start the “weaning off” process.

An issue arises when that period of transition from smoker to non-smoker never happens. People have now become obsessed and even dependent on their e-cigarettes, vape pens and/or Juul. Yes, it’s fantastic that cigarette consumption may be declining, but constant ingestion of vapor also has significant negative side effects that were never really advertised to customers.

First of all, e-cigarettes of any kind that contain nicotine are just as addictive as cigarettes themselves. So, if you are trying to break your addiction, e-cigarettes are probably not the route to take, and there are plenty of other options that can be used to assist you in your efforts to quit smoking entirely.

Nicotine, which is the extremely addictive substance within cigarettes that makes going “cold turkey” so difficult, truly takes a toll on your body without you even realizing it. Most people crave adrenaline, which gives individuals a  slow-motion effect, making them feel like Superman for a short stint — a nicotine buzz in this case.

Nicotine, even though it does raise your adrenaline levels, does so by spiking your blood pressure, which forces your heart to work harder and in turn puts you at higher risk for heart attacks or other related heart diseases.

Unlike ordinary cigarettes, which generally have a set amount of nicotine per unit, e-cigarettes and vapes are powered by battery, and the vapor comes in cartridges. As much of a luxury as this may seem, it is possible to buy extra-strength cartridges, which contain an elevated amount of nicotine, spiking your blood pressure even higher than cigarettes. You could also simply increase the voltage in a vape “box mod,” which gives you a much higher hit of nicotine into your bloodstream. Either way, this is just an easier way to get your fix of nicotine — which is causing extreme damage to your internal organs and your health as a whole.

There have already been nine vaping-related deaths in the United States in the past few months, which is causing not only tobacco companies to worry, but also legislators, since they have been introducing new legislation to protect  the health of U.S. citizens. Just recently, the Pennsylvania senate passed a bill raising the minimum age to buy tobacco related products, including e-cigarettes, to age 21, according to WPXI News. .

Pennsylvania State Senator Mario Scavello released a statement regarding the decision to increase the minimum age, saying: “The difference (between age 18 and 21) is you have a little bit more time to think about the bad habit that you can (pick up) at a young age. … By delaying it, you are really delaying a decision that (a) young man or young lady might not make in the future.”

Pennsylvania is not leading the charge for raising the minimum tobacco-buying age. 20 other states, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland, along with 17 others, mostly in the Northeastern region of the U.S. have made or passed similar legislation.        

There is a serious issue within the U.S. with concerns to e-cigarettes of any nature. The United States Surgeon General reported a 900% increase in e-cigarette usage amongst high schoolers in 2015, while 40% of student e-cigarette users hadn’t smoked ordinary cigarettes before.

So, are e-cigarettes really helping addicted smokers wean off, or are they actually hurting the cause? I vote the latter of the two.