Ever wondered what those USB like devices are that teens suck on?
Instagram and YouTube are flooded with videos of kids blowing smoke rings and doing tricks. Hipsters walking down the high street with their personal sweet-smelling clouds.
For those that haven’t had the pleasure (or displeasure) of experiencing one of these, vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol from an e-cigarette or similar device.
Widely marketed as a solution to help smokers quit, the viral social epidemic of vaping is feared to have created a generation of teens addicted to nicotine, an audience they weren’t originally intended for.
Public Health England, an executive agency of the UK’s Department of Health & Social Care maintains that vaping, or smoking e-cigarettes is 95 percent less harmful than smoking tobacco.
According to The Guardian, the UK government is launching a new campaign to try and convince smokers of this fact, a bid to counter the growing skepticism due to apparently false fears and misinformation.
The department wants to encourage more smokers to take aid of e-cigarettes as a tool to quit smoking and unlike the United States, the UK has the necessary regulations to restrict the amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes. In fact, vaping devices like Juul have higher levels of nicotine in the US than they do in the UK.
Martin Dockrell of the PHE says, "there is no evidence to support the concern that e-cigarettes are a route to smoking in young people."
Across the pond, it appears to be an entirely different story.
In his 2016 report on E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults, U.S Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy’s preface states that “E-cigarette use among U.S. youth and young adults is now a major public health concern. E-cigarette use has increased considerably in recent years, growing an astounding 900% among high school students from 2011 to 2015.”
By contrast to the UK, his report calls on “Health care providers, parents, teachers, and other caregivers should advise youth about the dangers of nicotine and discourage tobacco use in any form, including e-cigarettes. They can set a positive example by being tobacco-free and encouraging those who already use these products to quit.”
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s report on e-cigarettes suggests that there is strong evidence that vaping may encourage young people to try cigarettes.
E-cigarette giant Juul claims to effectively deliver a similar level of nicotine as a traditional cigarette. Medical researchers view this as a double-edged sword, helping wean smokers but also creating an addiction potential for the youth.
According to The New York Times, School health officials say students do not realize how much they are smoking because they “microdose” all day and many do not realize the chemicals in the devices.
Additional sources: Vox, Hopkins Medicine