The sight of someone smoking has become a sort of rarity now, and many argue that it is a good thing, therefore justifying the use of vapes. Of course, they are not entirely off. No one is going to argue that the decreased rates of smoking is not a positive result of the current situation.
In 2017, the lowest smoking rate among adults in the United States was recorded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention , coming in at 14%. However, the same study concluded that one in five adults still use some tobacco-related products, whether it be an actual or electronic cigarette. Since 2017, this has altered drastically, due to the massive popularity of e-cigarettes. The most recent data shows that from 2011 to 2018, the amount of teenagers in the U.S. increased from 220,000 to just over 3 million. That is 20.8% of teens. The effects are blatant.
While we are telling ourselves that this is some profound, awful thing, the tobacco industry has done this same exact routine before. It is the transition of dishonesty from the lie of cigarette effects to the lie of vaping effects. And yes, vaping is the lesser of two evils.
However, being the lesser of two evils is not necessarily such high praise. Just because hitting a Juul is not AS BAD as smoking a cigarette does not mean that there will not be consequences for doing it. Not to mention that at one point, not too long ago, smoking was not considered a threat to health.
In 1964, the first report of the Surgeon General was released on smoking, and at the time, the smoking rate was 40% among Americans, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information . This was at the peak of the smoking epidemic, and as more and more information started to surface, rates began to decline. People were now being made aware of the fact that their addiction was going to lead to potentially terminal illness and a drug dependency.
These corporations KNOW what they are doing. They know that they can cater to people by offering an alternative, and it makes them money. Flavoring their product contributes to this problem, as this distracts from the harmful behavior by, quite literally, sugar-coating it.
In this era, however, there is a key difference from the former: the expansion of knowledge.
This is not our first time dealing with this kind of deception. The tobacco industry has already made it clear that they are willing to throw their own customers’ well being out the window when it comes down to profits. In the age of the internet, information can be spread in seconds. The process of exposing their wrong-doings is moving faster than it was in the midst of the smoking epidemic. And this is not even taking into account the advancement in medical sciences that can easily debunk the rhetoric spread from tobacco companies.
The health effects of vaping have also proven to be more immediate, with six vape-related illnesses becoming fatalities already in the past year. Vapes have not even had consistent popularity for a decade yet. We are catching this in time. We can do something about industries exploiting vulnerable people before it is too late.The long term effects of vaping are not yet known, and we do not want to look back on this time period and regret not taking action when we do find out.