We are currently living in a time where cigarette sales are declining daily but that doesn’t mean that tobacco companies aren’t still flourishing off their “healthy” alternative - vaping.
Vaping is a popular new habit mainly picked up by millennials over the past few years. With the wide variety of flavors, flashy and sleek styles and promise of a “safer” smoking substitut, they have been flying off the shelves and into the hands of teens at alarming rates.
According to Phoebe Southworth, “one in three 18-24 year olds now use the smoking substitute. The number of millennials using vapes has risen from 24 percent in 2016 to the current 28 percent”.
The issue with vaping is how the tobacco companies have been luring kids in; they use the same dirty tactics that they have been using for years.
Back in the 80's, tobacco companies used to advertise cigarettes as a dieting tool, they would strategically place them in ads for feminism and other social movements and they paid celebrities to publicly smoke them. They use these strategies to market how cool their product is to cover up the dangers of smoking.
“Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Smoking kills some 480,000 people a year — more than AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs and suicide combined — and costs $170 billion in annual health care expenditures,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vaping is no different, it is a way for big tobacco to continue to rake in billions by getting the youth hooked on nicotine and battle the same addiction that the generations before them had to.
Except this time, instead of basing it all on the popularity factor of smoking, big tobacco makes their money off advertising how safe their vaping and e-cigarette products are. There’s no tar or tobacco, just nicotine and flavored vapor, how can that be bad?
Unfortunately, they still contain nicotine and toxins. Calling it a safer alternative is a big stretch, people are simply switching out one addiction for another.
For an easier view on the dangers of a vape substitute for cigarettes, a standard JUUL cartridge contains the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes, or 200 cigarette puffs. This company alone is valued at $38 billion.
Beyond just lying about the safety of e-cigarettes and vaporized smoking substitutes, it has brought the image of smoking back into the eyes of teenagers. It has raised popularity, which also raises deaths.
Big tobacco has been profiting off slowly killing people for years, and no matter how bad they get fought, they seem to come back out on top bigger and richer than before.
All we can do as consumers is to understand the dangers of vaping; nothing you inhale into your lungs is healthy. Not cigarettes, not cigars, not marijuana and not vape.
We also need to understand the dangers of nicotine and the chemicals hidden in smoking products. It’s not just vapor, it’s a casserole of toxins and metals: tin, nickel, lead, Diacetyl and even the same chemicals that can be found in antifreeze.
Vaping is a new trend, which means that there are no long term studies yet, and this should scare you. However it has been proved that, just like cigarettes, it can cause multiple cancers, heart disease, lung disease and obviously death.
We need to stop giving our money to big tobacco companies. We need to stop letting billionaires get richer off the health and lives of citizens who don’t know any better. Vaping is not safe, it should not be used as a substitute or an alternative, it should be dropped and fought off just like we millennials did with cigarettes.