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Editorial: Youth vaping is no less than an epidemic

Vaping+was+essentially+created+to+help+adults+smokers+quit%2C+however%2C+the+new+fangled+form+of+smoking+has+had+dire+consequences.
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Editorial: Youth vaping is no less than an epidemic

Vaping was essentially created to help adults smokers quit, however, the new fangled form of smoking has had dire consequences.

Vaping was essentially created to help adults smokers quit, however, the new fangled form of smoking has had dire consequences.

E-Cigarette / Vaping360.com / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Vaping was essentially created to help adults smokers quit, however, the new fangled form of smoking has had dire consequences.

E-Cigarette / Vaping360.com / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

E-Cigarette / Vaping360.com / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Vaping was essentially created to help adults smokers quit, however, the new fangled form of smoking has had dire consequences.

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“If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?”

This is the typical response of a parent when their child asks if they can do something because all of their friends are provoking annoyance and a regretful “no” from the child regardless of whether it pertains to their original request. 

Although seemingly meaningless at the time of inquiry, this question holds much more depth than one might think.

Approximately 40 percent of youth who use e-cigarettes are influenced by friends or even family members, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One of the overarching stigmas that motivate young people to vape is that e-cigarettes are marketed as healthier versions of cigarettes. However, just because vaping could possibly be safer than smoking doesn’t mean it is safe, not in the least.

In fact, a singular Juul pod contains the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes.

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What most teens do not know is that nicotine is among the top five most addictive drugs in the world and is detrimental to the adolescent brain. Teens who vape are four times more likely to become smokers than their peers who do not.

Although ignorance is a key contributor to the popularity of these products, the fact that e-cigarettes are easy to conceal and produce the same high as cigarettes without the smell adds dramatically to the appeal.

Now, according to the Food and Drug Administration, there are more than 3 million e-cigarette users in high schools across the country, a 78 percent increase from 2017.

Vaping has become a normality.

While companies such as Juul claim that their products are only intended to help adult smokers quit, their various flavors such as mint and mango entice people of all ages, even those who are not yet in high school.

When the FDA realized the need to address the problem at hand, they chose to raid Juul’s headquarters, seizing thousands of documents and prompting Juul to place a temporary ban on the sale of ‘kid-friendly’ flavors in retail stores before the FDA could.

Nonetheless, it is far too late.

If the FDA or any e-cigarette company wanted to limit underage usage, it would have been beneficial to do so three years ago when the movement began. Now, no matter the restrictions placed on e-cigarettes, youth will find a way around it, just as they have for the past three years. 

It’s too late because now, vaping is an epidemic among youth, and although they can try, big corporations can’t stop an epidemic; no one can.

No one except us, the youth of today’s society.

Our generation has unfathomable potential. We are nothing short of activists who have shaped the conversation surrounding gun control, promoted a new kind of democracy where every vote counts, and championed diversity, no matter one’s ethnicity, religion, or sexuality, like never before.

Our downfall? E-cigarettes.

So now, we have a decision to make.

Do we want to go down in history as the ones who paved the way to a better tomorrow, or will we be remembered as the generation that reignited the smoking crisis, that threw it all away for a pod and a pack of cigarettes?

Do we jump off the bridge, or do we build it for generations to come?

The choice is ours.

*This editorial reflects the views of the Scot Scoop editorial board. This editorial was written by Veronica Roseborough.

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Editorial: Youth vaping is no less than an epidemic