Vaping, or the use of electronic cigarettes, was originally thought to be a safer alternative to smoking due to the absence of tobacco.
Vaping THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, was also thought to be a less damaging method of smoking. However, recent findings show lung damage in e-cigarette users.
According to The New York Times, a study on men and women age 19 to 67 found that the lung damage in individuals who vaped nicotine or THC. This study, conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic, found lung damage that resembled chemical burns.
Dr. Brandon T. Larson, the doctor who reported the findings with the Mayo Clinic, described the damaged lungs of patients as “torched”.
The cause of the damage is still unclear. Researchers still cannot conclude if a malfunction in the devices are to blame, or if certain substances being smoked cause more damage than others.
Since more research has to be done, it’s safe to say that people shouldn’t be smoking from a device that hasn’t fully been researched.
It’s imperative that the government, universities and parents take action now.
Unfortunately, 15 and 16-year-olds are 16 times more likely than their 25 to 34-year-olds counterparts to be using the popular vaping device Juul.
As of June 2019, California prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and schools are supposed to adopt and enforce policies prohibiting vaping on campus. It’s clear that more should be done in light of these findings.
Perhaps campus safety should crack down harder on students seen vaping on campus, especially those who are underage.
Additionally, news videos that explain what’s happening to vaping users and any developing stories surrounding vaping should be shown in class to keep students informed.
It’s important to monitor where vapes are being sold. Smoke shops that sell cartridges should be stricter about their ID processes, ensuring that minors are not buying.
Parents should sit down and have an open discussion with their kids about the consequences of vaping, showing them the graphic videos and photos that are surfacing on the internet. Chances are the youth have already been exposed to the viral photos of other vaping users coughing up blood.
Most importantly, the government should treat the sale e-cigarettes the same way regular cigarettes are. This means graphic packaging of damaged lungs and yellow teeth paired with large warning signs that read that the product contains the addictive chemical nicotine.
While more research still needs to be done, it is clear that vaping poses a threat to our health. People must act now and keep the public, especially today’s youth, informed about what potentially harmful chemicals they’re putting inside their bodies and what the detrimental effects are.