Vaping Epidemic is leaving the Country up in Smoke


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Alexis Nieman, Media Editor

By now, everyone has heard of the “vaping epidemic” that is taking the country by storm. Over the past few months, over 450 people have been hospitalized due to vaping and e-cigarettes, and at least six people have been pronounced dead due to “mysterious lung illness,” according to The Washington Post. Many patients have been high schoolers or college students. 

With more and more people getting ill every day, states and cities have begun to take control of the situation on their home-fronts. Last Wednesday, Michigan became the first state to completely ban flavored e-cigarettes, and San Francisco issued a ban on all e-cigarettes. It can be assumed that more states and cities are soon following suit. The Trump Administration is also finalizing a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes in an effort to combat the outbreak of illnesses related to vaping and e-cigarettes. According to CNBC, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters the following last week:

“The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools, and communities,” Azar said. “We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”

As the outbreak continues across the country, students at Pace who vape and use e-cigarettes like Juul are starting to question their habit. A Junior at Pace, who would like to remain anonymous, says that she’s nervous about her future health if she continues to use her Juul.

“I’ve been Juuling since my freshman year when everyone really started to get one. I’m not an avid user, but I do use it at least once every day,” she said. “It makes me nervous to see everything on news about kids getting hospitalized, but I don’t know if it will make me completely stop yet.” 

A study conducted in 2018 found that 1 in 5 high school students use some type of e-cigarettes. Officials at state and federal levels have not found a definitive cause for these vaping illnesses yet, but physicians and health officials in states where many people have fallen ill have been publishing details of the lung disorders as they become known.

“I think what made me want to try it initially was the fact that so many people were doing it, and the flavors that they use in Juul pods”, a Junior at Pace said. “The mango, mint and fruit flavors all taste so good that you don’t think about what you’re doing to yourself.” 

Vaping companies such as Juul have been criticized in the past for using appealing flavors to draw in young consumers. The federal ban is being finalized but may take some time to go into effect because the FDA still has to release its final ruling.