E-cigarettes pose dangers to users

E-cigarettes pose dangers to users

E-cigarettes first came to the market in the United States. Since then, e-cigarette sales and usage have skyrocketed within the younger population.

A vape is an electronic device that heats up a liquid in order to create vapor to be inhaled. There are several different types of liquid that can be used in a vape pen to be ingested. Because all of the liquids cannot be identified and tested thoroughly, the number of different liquids on the market has been considered potentially dangerous.

A vape is an electronic device meant to encourage quitting smoking tobacco products, but instead has brought about a new era of addiction among youth. (Photo by Ryan LaCourte)

The most common vape on the market currently is the Juul, released in late 2015 by the San Francisco-based company, Juul. By August 2018, Juul accounted for 72 percent of the vapes sold on the market. The device itself is slim and easy to use with a technologically sleek look, earning its trending status among the younger population. 

According to the latest National Youth Tobacco Study taken in 2018, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students currently use e-cigarettes. The most worrisome part of this vaping epidemic experts say is the fact young people think vaping is harmless and cool to do. According to Yale health researchers, vape devices have not been proven to help the average adult smoker quit smoking, and vaping increases the risk a teen will eventually smoke regular cigarettes.

As of October 1, 2019, over 1,000 lung injury cases associated with using e-cigarette products have been reported to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 48 states and 1 U.S. territory, according to the CDC.

Sudin Thomas, a nurse practitioner in Stevenson’s Wellness Center, said, “The recent outbreak of lung injuries associated with vaping is concerning, specifically because no one has been able to determine what specific chemical exposure is causing the injury.”

Vaping products are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of the amount of products being manufactured. When the FDA doesn’t regulate a product, it allows the manufacturer to not disclose all of the chemicals that were used to create their product. Thomas said, “This is why the CDC has recommended that all e-cigarette users refrain from vaping at this time.”

The American College Health Association (ACHA) conducted a national college health assessment in 2018 across 40 U.S. campuses. The assessment revealed that 12.9 percent of participants have used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days. Thomas said, “You have to keep in mind that there are more than 4,000 colleges and universities, so I do not think this is a large enough sample size to make a generalization.”

Students struggling with nicotine addiction can make an appointment at the Wellness Center to discuss their tobacco/nicotine use.

Wellness Center Hours: Monday-Friday: 9 a.m-5 p.m.