E-cigarettes and other vaping products are on track to out-sell cigarettes by the end of 2023. And more and more young people are trying e-cigarettes. So what do you need to know about them? Are they less harmful than using cigarettes or other burned tobacco products? Are the retailers of these products marketing to our kids?!
Vape mods and e-cigs do not burn tobacco products. Most often, they contain nicotine solutions that are heated to make a vapor (hence the terms vape or vaping), and they’re usually battery powered. Some look like cigarettes and others can resemble flashlights. The big cigarette companies did not make the earliest e-cigs, but the cigarette companies have gotten into the new lucrative business. E-cigarette and vaping products are available in specialty stores and convenience stores around the US with varying restrictions on purchase by youth under 18.
E-cigarettes don’t necessarily contain nicotine. Some popular products contain little or no nicotine and levels can vary from brand to brand. And nicotine isn’t always the reason someone might try e-cigarettes!
What is the big draw to these new vaping devices? A 2014 national high school survey finds more monthly “vapers” than monthly smokers: 17% of US 12th-grade students report using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days compared to 14% for tobacco cigarettes. We also know that patterns of infrequent, non-daily use of various tobacco and nicotine products may be increasing among young people. But trying e-cigarettes does not automatically lead to daily use.
Young people might also be influenced to try e-cigarettes because of how they are priced and promoted. They can be cheaper than traditional cigarettes and may be perceived as safer. Other features, like flavors can also support use in all age groups.
As e-cigarettes become more popular and more visible young people will start trying and using these products. And because products keep changing, they will often try different kinds of e-cigarettes.
Youth is a time when individuals experiment with and get into trouble with psychoactive substances, including nicotine-containing e-cigarettes. In 2014, 44.4% of 12th-graders had ever used marijuana/hashish, and 35.1% had used in the past year; 41.4% reported being drunk in the past year. Users of one type of psychoactive substance are more likely to use others, like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, THC or prescription drugs.
The 2016 Surgeon General report stated that, “E-cigarettes are marketed by promoting flavors and using a wide variety of media channels and approaches that have been used in the past for marketing conventional tobacco products to youth and young adults.
Researchers had identified more than 7,700 unique e-cigarette flavors available online, with an average of more than 240 new flavors being added per month. Among more than 400 available brands, 84 percent offered fruit flavors and 80 percent offered candy and dessert flavors. Research shows that flavored products may play a role in initiation and uptake of tobacco products. Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) survey found that 81 percent of youth aged 12-17 who had ever used e-cigarettes had used a flavored e-cigarette the first time they tried the product, and that 85.3 percent of current youth e-cigarette users had used a flavored e-cigarette in the past month. Moreover, 81.5 percent of current youth e-cigarette users said they used e-cigarettes “because they come in flavors I like.” The Surgeon General concluded that, “Themes in e-cigarette marketing, including sexual content and customer satisfaction, are parallel to themes and techniques that have been found to be appealing to youth and young adults in conventional cigarette advertising and promotion. So just like big tobacco these new companies are targeting our youth, and because there’s not enough research to present solid evidence of the effects of vaping there’s less regulation to safeguard kids who are targeted.
Unlike cigarette and smokeless tobacco companies, e-cigarette companies are not currently required to report their marketing and promotional expenditures to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), so the exact amount spent to advertise and promote these products is uncertain. However, e-cigarette marketing expenditures are estimated to have increased dramatically in recent years, from $12 million in 2011 to $125 million in 2014. 24 Other studies have also documented this significant increase in spending.25 These figures likely underestimate the true extent of e-cigarette advertising, as the available marketing data is not comprehensive (e.g., social media and sponsored events—strategies widely used by numerous e-cigarette companies—are not included).
So what measures can you take against vaping? If you are faced with committed teenage smokers, perhaps the best you can do is foster switching to e-cigarettes. Of course, do explore their interest in getting help with quitting smoking. For less-involved users of e-cigarettes who do not smoke regular cigarettes, encourage that regular use be avoided and that nicotine use be limited as much as possible.
Telling a teenager that vaping is just as bad for you as smoking or that e-cigs are worse than tobacco cigarettes could push them toward cigarettes and is not justified. Why? Because your child will find reports that there are benefits of vaping over smoking if they go searching for it. It seems it’s a conundrum when is comes to vaping….yeah it may help you stop smoking but it runs other health risks.
If you have teenagers who already both smoke and vape, encourage that they work to avoid cigarettes and vaping completely.
I think that a good example is one great way to reduce the risk of your child picking up the vape habit. It wasn’t that long ago that people thought smoking tobacco was safe even beneficial. Here are a few classic ads that made smoking out to be good for you.
It seems to be simple logic that if you heat a chemical substance and inhale the byproduct (smoke or vapor) it will be bad for you’re your health. The big money tobacco companies and other companies that produce or retail vape products want you to believe it’s a healthy choice. It may not be as unhealthy as tobacco, but that has yet to be determined.
The VentMaskTeam thinks that refraining from using vape products is the healthiest choice you can make. If you have people vaping in or around your home or hotel use VentMask filters to remove more of the active particulate in the “vapor” from the air.
Till next time....we wish you the best of health-TheVentMaskTeam