Justin Ginther–Online Reporter
Vaping; the most unwarranted panic in recent memory. Th r o u g h o u t the U.S. there has been an immense change in opinion on how safe vaping truly is. It wasn’t until the early 2000s when the first modern e-cigarette was developed by the Chinese firm, Hon Lik. Since then, vaping has become increasingly popular over the years. Being such a recent product, researchers haven’t been able to fully identify the long-term risks of vaping. That doesn’t mean they haven’t tried. In the past few months many stories surfaced relating to a mysterious vaping-linked illness.
According to the Washington Post, there’s a minimum of 805 cases relating to this illness. There is a major factor that isn’t as being widely mentioned. According to the Centers for Disease Control many of the victims have reported that they purchased their marijuana pods and vape products through the black market. Due to this, they haven’t been able to pinpoint any particular device or product relating to vaping.
According to the Washington Post, those selling on the black market will dilute the THC oil used in vape cartridges, especially with vitamin E acetate, which can be quite hazardous when inhaled. The question of whether or not vaping is safe is being directed at the wrong people.
Many are quick to blame legitimatized vape shops, claiming that they’re solely responsible and their business should be torn down. People are focusing on whether or not flavored vapes need to be banned, or just vaping in general, however, there needs to be a focus on these black market vapes instead. Vaping has been a way for smokers to get off cigarettes, according to The New England Journal of Medicine, vaping had an 8% higher rate to help individuals quit smoking compared to using nicotine replacement therapy. It provides the nicotine they crave but without the tobacco.
It’s a safer alternative to cigarettes as long as consumers stay away from the black market. What needs to be done is find ways of keeping people away from the black market. Numerous find the black market appealing due to their cheaper prices and if someone is under the legal vaping age in a given state, which in Washington state is 21, the black market is their best bet to attain these products. While underage people shouldn’t be vaping in the first place, black market alternatives is the worst possible option for them if they wish to do so.
Vaping is safe as long you’re sticking to a legitimized business. When you start to buy from the black market you’re putting yourself at risk because there are no rules, regulations or restrictions. You’re at the mercy of the dealer with no one to blame but yourself if things go horribly wrong.
Matthew J. Walker–Print Reporter
E-cigarettes are a popular alternative to cigarettes, being used by young teenagers and adults alike. E-cigarette use, known as vaping, is commonly considered to be a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. But is it really? For decades, millions of Americans smoked cigarettes because it was popular, unaware of the fact that cigarette use was destroying their health. I fear that history is repeating itself today as masses of people become hooked on vaping out of a belief that it’s safe. Many people have turned to vaping as the new “cool thing” to do, especially because e-cigarettes have been spared the bad reputation that cigarettes have earned over recent decades.
The media, up until now, has supplied a massive disservice to the people, allowing history to repeat itself by not reporting on the negative health effects of vaping, how it relates to the history of the tobacco industry, and how their lies led to the nicotine addiction of an entire generation. Fortunately, recent studies have received a lot of media attention and have shed light on the truth behind the safety of vaping.
According to Newscientist.com, a University of California head and neck cancer specialist named Jessica Wang-Rodriguez, and her team, discovered that DNA exposed to vapor from these e-cigarettes sustained twice as much damage when compared to DNA that was unexposed. These cells were five to ten times more likely to die than unexposed cells. These studies were conducted with both vapor containing nicotine and vapor without. While they did conclude that nicotine-free vapor was less harmful, it was only by a small margin.
This leads the scientists to assume that additives in the vapor flavoring were also contributing to the carcinogenic effect of these e-cigarettes. A carcinogen is any substance or agent that produces cancer. E-cigarette liquid is known to contain carcinogenic toxins and chemicals, such as formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Therefore, when someone inhales e-cigarette vapor, they’re inhaling cancer-producing toxins. While vaping thus far has been shown to be safer than cigarettes, it’s important to understand that “safer” does not mean “safe”.
People that smoke e-cigarettes should be aware of the potentially harmful effects of using these devices.
“We don’t really know all the harmful effects of vaping at this point,” said Wang-Rodriguez, “so I’d encourage users of both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes to understand the consequences and stop using.”
The topic of vaping and its danger finally made headlines in recent months after hundreds of breathing illnesses related to vaping were reported, leading to investigations by health officials. President Trump compelled the media to report on the negative health effects of vaping by proposing a potential ban on e-cigarette flavors containing nicotine, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
While I believe the banning of e-cigarette flavor sis worthy of further debate, the question of vaping safety is becoming more and more apparent as research continues to develop relating to its danger. If you’re an e-cigarette user, or know someone who is, consider and share the consequences of vaping with others. The difference could literally be life and death.
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