More people give up smoking tobacco in favor of electronic cigarettes among other vaping products. They are also called vape-pens, e-hookahs, e-pipes, JUUL. Those are small-scale devices that emit vaporized nicotine or even non-nicotine solutions that users inhale without burning tobacco. They were originally designed for people to quit smoking cigarettes. Not everyone is willing to try nicotine replacement therapy or non-nicotine medication, so they turn to e-cigarettes instead. However, many consumers do not use it as an aid anymore: vaping has turned into another bad habit, and there is enough data to prove that.
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Numerous hospitals in the US receive patients with lung illnesses that are potentially connected to vaping, and several people have already lost the battle with the disease. As Wilson-Glover (2019) claims, the first death that was linked to the massive vaping outburst was announced in New Jersey in October, 2019. According to Ortiz (2019), “there have been 14 confirmed and probable cases of serious lung disease in the state” (par.3). This is in New Jersey alone, but there are many similar cases in other states. In addition, Ortiz (2019) claims, that thirty-two other reports of serious lung illnesses are being currently investigated, are already potentially connected to vaping. It is important to note that “there have been more than 800 confirmed and probable cases of serious illness from vaping products in forty-six states and the Virgin Islands” (Ortiz, 2019, para. 5). That is a number big enough for several states to ban flavored vape products and the devices, which was supported by President Trump (Ortiz, 2019). These statistics only emphasize the possible dangers connected with the new habit. What concerns people more is the fact that electronic cigarettes nowadays have become extremely popular with young people; that includes high school students as well (Mcgreevy, 2020).
What was made primarily created as a “cure” for smokers, eventually became a substitution that may be causing more harm than good. According to Ortiz (2019), the use of those devices has increased significantly over the last few years, and parents all across the States have become concerned with this problem. It is important to note that, “sixty deaths have been confirmed in 27 states and the District of Columbia” (“Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping Products”, 2020). It was noted that the components of vaping liquids that are directly linked to this outburst are vitamin E acetate and THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, found in marijuana (Barchenger, 2020). Nonetheless, according to Nedelman (2019), “A specific cause of the nationwide outbreak remains unknown” (para, 9). The research needs to go deeper for the scientists to find out the root of the current problem.
Freiman (2020) proves, that while other cases of lung illnesses are under investigation, New Jersey lawmakers have approved a bill banning the sale of vaping products containing flavors. That would apply to any distribution of that kind as well. Although, it would put thousands of people in the vaping industry out of a job, this measure is justified. According to Freiman (2020), “The legislation would also impose a minimum fine of $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.” The main purpose of that bill is to protect children and teenagers, as the sweet fruity flavors of the vaping products may be enticing for them.
E-hookahs (another name for vapes) have become an inseparable part of today’s culture; they have been popularized by many celebrities who are real role models for teenagers. Young people do not realize how dangerous it can be, because e-cigarettes are perceived as something harmless and fun in that community. It is worth mentioning that “a federal study that found some 5 million middle and high school students in 2019 reported having used e-cigarettes in a recent 30-day period” (Mcgreevy, 2020, para. 6). The authorities are trying to do everything in their power to prevent the younger generation from obtaining this health-threatening habit and to reduce those numbers.
However, the problem is not easy to solve, as there are too many people involved in this outbreak. According to Barchenger (2020), “while health advocates said the bills were a crucial step…, opponents said it would put hundreds of vape shops out of business and harm people who try to quit smoking” (para. 5). It seems that a simple ban on the products cannot be the ultimate solution to the problem; in fact, it can become the cause for more issues. Even when the New Jersey lawmakers tried to establish a ban for selling menthol cigarettes, it was quickly declined as, according to Barchenger (2020), “it would affect tax revenue from cigarette sales.” Therefore, the authorities have to address the matter more thoroughly. Moreover, such radical actions as a strict prohibition of something can result in even bigger outbursts and encourage people to turn to black markets to get what they want.
Vape pens have their benefits, and it is important to take several facts into consideration. First, as stated by Balkisoon (2019), with e-hookahs users can control their nicotine intake as opposed to ordinary cigarettes. Lowering the dosage of nicotine with time may help people quit the bad habit of smoking tobacco. Second, vapes are very often more affordable than cigarettes and there is a rich variety of the liquids’ flavors, which is helpful for those, who cannot stand the tobacco aroma. The vaporized solutions are not as annoying to the general public, as the ordinary smoke. Third, the vaping industry generates tax revenue, which in term helps the economy of the country. The numbers are not as fascinating as in the cigarette industry, but it is a significant contribution and it would be unfortunate to lose that money.
Despite the abovementioned advantages, the benefits of e-hookahs bring more damage than good. Many users do not know that one vape cartridge contains the amount of nicotine equivalent to a pack of cigarettes (Balkissoon, 2019). Research shows that “E-cigarette fluids have been shown to contain at least six groups of potentially toxic compounds” (Christiani, para. 3). Most young people do not understand that vaping still means consuming a particular amount of nicotine. Their brains are more susceptible to its harmful impact because they are still developing, therefore it makes vaping exceptionally dangerous for teenagers (Calello, 2019). Moreover, according to Wilson-Glover (2019), “most of those who have fallen ill, used the vape oil, which includes tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana” (para. 11).
Although many specialists blame this component or vitamin E acetate for the majority of the damage, it is likely that those are not the main cause of the problem (Calello, 2019). Nicotine and THC are extracted in a liquid, and that is done by soaking the leaves in some sort of a solvent. Calello (2019) claims that most manufacturers create their solutions with the usage of propylene glycol, an oil that is generally safe. However, as far as THC vapes go, especially those that are made by small manufacturers, one cannot be sure about the nature of the liquid. Frequently these contain vitamin E oil, which is safe to consume as a dietary supplement but can be dangerous when inhaled (“Outbreak of Lung Injury”, 2020). The labels on the products may or may not give the customer the full information about the components inside. That makes it hard to distinguish potentially harmful liquids from their alternatives.
Instead of banning e-cigarettes and the sweet-flavored products they go with, it would be better to regulate the process of manufacturing. The control over the vaping liquids’ quality would contribute to users and the country’s economy. Elimination of the products with vitamin E oil and other hazardous components and substitution of those with safer alternatives will be very useful. That would help people in that industry keep their jobs. What is more, the technology behind the actual vapes should be altered, so that the amount of needed nicotine in the cartridge can be lowered. Moreover, it is necessary to increase the price of e-cigarettes to keep the young people away from vaping. That way they will be discouraged to spend their money on the devices and adults will still be able to make a switch from cigarettes if they are trying to quit the bad habit.
Balkissoon, R. (2019). Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping as a Harm Reduction Alternative: Really?. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation, 6(3), 281.
Barchenger, S. (2020). New Jersey moving ahead on vaping ban, bills expected to be signed by Phil Murphy. Northjersey.com. Web.
Calello, D. (2019). Why are people getting sick from vaping now? A doctor looks at a likely answer. NJ.com. Web.
Christiani, D. C. (2019). Vaping-induced lung injury. N Engl J Med, 6(10.1164).
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Freiman, J. (2020). New Jersey lawmakers pass a bill banning flavored vaping products. CBS News. Web.
Mcgreevy, P. (2020). California vaping bill would ban all flavored tobacco sales in stores. Los Angeles Times. Web.
Nedelman, M. (2020). Vaping-related deaths in the United States rise to 17. CNN-Health. Web.
Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping Products (2020) CDC.gov. Web.
Ortiz, K. (2019). Vaping crisis: First NJ vaping death related to the national outbreak reported. Northjersey.com. Web.
Wilson-Glover, R. (2019). Dozens have died from vaping-linked illnesses. Rutgers’ staff examines how we can protect the public’s health. NJ.com. Web.