In the midst of a mysterious wave of vaping-related illnesses, public concern over vaping is at an all-time high.
Concern over vaping, which is the use of battery-powered e-cigarettes, has been growing recently as more and more respiratory issues are being connected to the devices.
According to Bloomberg, vaping is “a way to ingest nicotine, the addictive alkaloid present in tobacco, without the smoke and tar that comes from burning tobacco.” Vaping devices use a battery to heat a liquid containing nicotine, and the user then inhales the vapor that is produced.
Some devices, such as the Juul, have received much attention for their compact and appealing design, as well as flavors. Juul has been repeatedly accused of marketing their flavored vaping products to a young audience.
“The effects on humans of nicotine are not well-studied, although adolescents appear to be particularly vulnerable to it, with some evidence suggesting it can harm brain development,” Bloomberg reports. “A report by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences said there was substantial evidence that young vapers are more likely than nonvapers to try regular cigarettes.”
Traditional Cigarettes Vs E-Cigarettes
Another debate surrounding the devices is whether they are actually better for your health than smoking cigarettes. Early on, the devices were marketed as cigarette alternatives that could help smokers quit and replace the habit with something considered less harmful at the time.
But recently, a wave of vaping-related illnesses has led to multiple deaths and hundreds of other health issues for vapers across the U.S.
“Doctors have seen hundreds of cases where patients—often youthful, previously healthy adults—have shown up in the emergency room, suddenly stricken with dangerous respiratory damage,” Bloomberg notes.
In November 2018, the Food and Drug Administration took action to limit most sales of flavored e-cigarettes to only vaping stores and online retailers.
And more recently, the Trump administration has come forward with the intention to remove flavored vaping products from the market.
“Now, on the direction of President Donald Trump, the FDA plans to issue regulatory guidance that will force the removal from the market of all vaping products that taste like anything other than tobacco,” Bloomberg states. “Sales could resume only with FDA approval.”
The e-cigarette industry itself has also taken steps in this direction. In 2018, Juul announced that it had stopped stocking stores with appealing flavors like mango, fruit, creme and cucumber, and instead provided only tobacco, menthol and mint flavors. The company planned to continue selling the fruity flavors on its website, but said it would be taking steps to ensure buyers were 21 or older.
Major e-cigarette retailers Altria, Reynolds and Juul Labs have also expressed support in raising the legal tobacco buying age from 18 to 21.