Type: Controversial Essays
Sample donated: Ed Waters
Last updated: March 12, 2019
Eva KruseMrs. NygrenTrend PaperDecember 4, 2017Vape Debate “You want a hit?” your buddy asks, as a cloud of smoke rolls by you.
The smell isn’t suffocating, it doesn’t alarm your senses, and doesn’t constrict your lungs. It smells good. Fruity. Almost like candy. The scent intrigues you. “Yeah, I’ll take a hit.” You take a puff and blow out a thick, white cloud of smoke. Smoking is an addiction that consumes many, but smoking cigarettes is not the way to get the buzz anymore.
A new trend has hit the market known as vaping, the act of “smoking” an e-cigarette. Vaping feels good, smells good, and tastes good. But are e-cigarettes really all that good? Research has found that e-cigarettes can be hazardous to the human body and homes. E-cigarette use is on the rise in the United States due to its perceived alternative benefits compared to tobacco smoking and because of its increasing popularity among youth. An e-cigarette (or e-cig) is a handheld device that mimics the feelings of tobacco smoking.
According to Adam Lippert, sociologist professor at the University of Colorado Denver, these devices deliver puffs of nicotine into the user’s lungs when they inhale, without the burning of tobacco. The battery powered coil heats a nicotine solution until it vaporizes (374). Users inhale and exhale the nicotine infused vapor (not smoke), allowing users to feel the same sensation as smoking. The trend toward e-cigarette use began in 2007, but the start of the e-cigarette idea came about in 1927. There were three main contributors to the invention of the e-cigarette.
They all bounced off of each other’s ideas to create the e-cigarette we see today. According to Rachel Grana, Program Director in the Tobacco Control and Research Branch within the Behavioral Research Program of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute, and her colleagues, Joseph Robin came up with the idea of the e-cigarette. His intentions for the vaporizing device were to “deliver medication through inhalation” (1972). Robin’s device design was very similar to e-cigarette models we see today, but Robin saw the vaporizing device as a medicine delivery method rather than a tobacco alternative. The 1960s were the beginning of the cigarette era and sparked an idea in a young man, Herbert Gilbert. According to Heung Bin Lim, Korean research scientist and educator, and Seung Hyung Kim, professor at Ohio State University Columbus, Herbert Gilbert designed the first “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” in 1963 (14). Gilbert used the same design as Robin, but put his own twist on it.
Instead of using the vaporizer for medication he infused the vapor with nicotine. Gilbert saw the benefits to vaping while others were not enlightened by the idea right away. In the 1960s, tobacco smoking was considered to be normal and done everywhere. People were not aware of the dangers of smoking, but when Gilbert got his idea commercialized, vaping became popular. This began the trend toward the new and improved e-cigarettes. According to Bertrand Dautzenberg, doctor and professor of French medicine, Hon Lik (a Chinese pharmacist), invented the first modern e-cigarette in 2003 after his father died of lung cancer (21). Lik modernized the e-cigarette with the intention to aid cigarette smokers with the same smoking sensation, but without the risks associated with cigarette smoking.
According to Dautzenberg, the first modern e-cigarettes were commercialized in 2003 and were sold in 2004 (21). E-cigarettes were invented with the sole purpose of aiding smokers with the same sensation as cigarette smoking, and the trend has ever since continued to grow. E-cigarettes are on the rise in the United States due to their increasing popularity amongyoung people. E-cigarette advertisements, however, started out aiming for adult smokers. According to Karen Kaplan, science and medicine editor at the Los Angeles Times, adults turn to these devices to help with withdrawal from the smoking addiction (1). While e-cigarettes benefit adult smokers, they introduce nicotine addiction to a younger generation.
Student use throughout middle schools and high schools have increased drastically. According to Vivek H. Murthy, the Surgeon General, e-cigarette use among high schoolers is growing at an alarming rate of 900% from 2011 to 2015 (United States, Department of Health and Human Services vii). High schoolers are being drawn to these products, making them one of the most commonly used tobacco products in young people.
Popularity rates among high school e-cigarette users took an enormous leap between 2011 and 2015. According to Rob McConnell in “Electronic Cigarette Use and Respiratory Symptoms in Adolescents,” popularity among current adolescent e-cigarette users increased from 1.5% in 2011 to 16% in 2015 (1043). These rates continue to grow. E-cigarette use is not only rising among high school teens, but also among middle school youth. According to Tushar Singh in “Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2011–2015,” e-cigarette popularity among middle schoolers started out at a low rate of 0.6% and rapidly increased to 5.3% in 2015 (363).
E-cigarette use in middle school youth grew just as quick as it did for high school teens. High school users are influencing their younger siblings, directing them toward e-cigarette use. E-cigarette popularity among adolescents is due to a number of factors, but part of youth popularity is due to the variety of flavors e-cigarettes offer. According to Carla J. Berg, clinical health psychologist from the University of Kansas, e-cigarettes come in over 7,000 flavors, and 67% of adolescent e-cigarette users use fruit flavored e-juice.
These flavors draw in young users by “reducing the harsh taste and toxicity of tobacco and there for increasing attractiveness (226).” Flavors intrigue adolescents, but that is not the only thing drawing youth in. Adolescents are also being drawn to these products because they are more affordable when compared to tobacco cigarettes.
According to Lacie Glover, Health Finance and Medical Science writer, disposable e-cigarettes average at $9.50 apiece which is equal to 2 and a half packs of regular cigarettes. These disposable e-cigarettes cost about $1,387 a year. Rechargeable e-cigarettes cost about $2.66 a cartridge and total about $605 a year (1). E-cigarettes are relatively inexpensive compared to traditional tobacco cigarettes. Glover compares that the average pack of cigarettes costs $7.04 totaling up to $2,569 a year (1).
This makes e-cigarettes sound like the better route as they are more cost effective. Youth are also being attracted to this product because they are highly accessible. According to Alexandra Sifferlin, staff writer at TIME magazine, youth 18 years old and under can buy e-cigarettes online even in states where it is illegal (1).
Youth have easy access to these devices with very few barriers to cross. Sifferlin adds that it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors in North Carolina. Researchers asked 11 teens to buy e-cigarettes online from 98 of the most popular online retailers. 75 of the orders were successful, and none of the companies verified ages prior to or at delivery. Orders were simply left at the purchasers door (1). These findings are both concerning and alarming. States need to regulate adolescents access to such products.
While youth may be drawn to these products, it does not mean they should use them. Data is limited on the long term effects e-cigarette have on users because e-cigarettes are still a fairly new product. While there is limited research on long term effects, most research has been recorded on the short term effects of e-cigarettes. According to McConnell, e-cigarettes increase the commonness of bronchitis and asthma (1045). E-cigarettes increase the morbidity among young people because of the toxic chemicals they contain. According to Priscilla Callahan-Lyon, internal medicine specialist, e-cigarettes contain a chemical called “aerosolized propylene glycol” which creates an irritating tickle in the throat and causes a dry cough (ii36).
Such symptoms could be from lung damage, however there has been little research done on the effects of e-cigarette smoking among young people and adults. Callahan-Lyon also states that e-cigarettes may cause less harm than smoking a traditional cigarette. She says that “studies evaluating whether e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes are inconclusive (ii36).” The long term impact on the human body is unavailable because the product is still fairly new. More research needs to be done to identify the effects e-cigarettes have and to prevent those effects. E-cigarettes not only cause damage to the lungs but they also have an effect on the environment. According to Carol Pierson Holding, American brand positioning consultant, e-cigarettes have a longer lasting effect on the environment compared to tobacco cigarettes. She explains that if “vapers,” people who use e-cigarettes, would recycle the various parts of their devices, there would not be a problem, but there is “no easy way to recycle e-cigarettes (1).
” Metals in e-cigarettes can be compared to batteries, and when not recycled correctly, they can leave lasting effects on our environment. Holding also explains that if e-cigarettes are disposed of before they are fully used, they may still contain some the the liquid nicotine, which can pollute the ground and water (1). This is a major issue because water is something we all rely on, and if these pollutants find their way into the clean water supply, humans would have nothing to survive off of.
E-cigarettes are a controversial topic. Some researchers would argue that e-cigarettes are less harmful compared to tobacco cigarettes. According to John Ross, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, e-cigarettes are less fatal than tobacco cigarettes. He explains that “cigarette smoking is a uniquely dangerous addiction” and that “cigarettes might be the only consumer product that kills when used as directed (1).” Tobacco is an unsafe product, and is the leading cause of preventable death. According to Schoenborn, “tobacco use causes nearly 6 million deaths per year, and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030 (1).” Smoking leads to death, disease, and leaves a lasting imprint on users lungs.
Smoking effects everyone, not just the addict. Compared to tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes may seem like the better option. According to Ross, tobacco cigarettes contain a tar residue, and this is where most of the carcinogens in a cigarette lie (1). Researchers know that releasing carcinogens into the air is unhealthy to the smoker and the surrounding environment, so e-cigarettes may seem more environmentally friendly as they do not release as many harmful chemicals. According to Robert West, professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his colleague Jamie Brown, author of “Electronic Cigarettes: Fact or Fiction,” found that the vapor released from an e-cigarette is nothing like the smoke released from a tobacco cigarette.
The carcinogen levels are all “well below 1/20th that of cigarette smoke (5).” The study indicates that e-cigarettes create little to no effect on air quality, making them a safer alternative compared to cigarette smoking. According to Ross, e-cigarettes also provide less nicotine and do not expose users to tar and the poisonous gases released from cigarette smoking (1).
The poisonous gases released from cigarettes make smoking deadly, and make vaping an attractive substitute. E-cigarettes not only are a safer alternative, but assist nicotine addicts with withdrawal. According to Micheal B.
Siegel, professor of community health sciences at Boston University School of Public Health, 64.7% of adult smokers use e-cigarettes to quit smoking and 66.8% of people found it to be effective (473-474). E-cigarettes are beneficial when it comes to helping users quit. Over half of cigarette smokers looking to quit found e-cigarettes to be effective in ending their addiction.
Although some researchers would claim e-cigarettes are a safer alternative compared to cigarette smoking, others would argue that e-cigarettes are just as bad. E-cigarettes generally help smoking addicts quit, but e-cigarettes also come with their own problems. According to Ross, e-cigarettes have many negative health effects. He explains that exposure to chronic nicotine can lead to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, increase in heart rate and an increase in blood pressure (1). E-cigarettes could have many negative effects on the body, but e-cigarettes themselves can also be highly addictive. According to Ross “nicotine is addictive in its own right” and this addiction can cause major changes in the brain that can sometimes increase the risk of addiction to other drugs especially in youth (1). Nicotine addiction effects both e-cigarette users and cigarette smokers, but the addiction is worse in young people. According to Ross, nicotine also effects the prefrontal brain in youth, which can cause attention deficit disorder and poor impulse control (1).
Brain damage could be fatal, and will effect the young persons lifestyle forever. Adolescents are using e-cigarettes not knowing the effects they could have on their bodies. E-cigarettes are not only dangerous to the human body, they can be hazardous to families as a whole. According to Ross e-cigarettes come in a variety of flavors that can make the packaging seem appealing to young children (1).
When children get ahold of these they could end up suffering from nicotine poisoning. Ross points out that “accidental ingestion of e-liquid by kids has risen by 1,500% in the past three years (1).” Ingestion of the e-liquid is damaging and could even be fatal. One ending sentence??Since this is good flip good and bad paragraphs around?? E-cigarettes companies are a growing industry and they bring in a lot of profit. Ever since e-cigarettes were introduced and became available to users, profits have soared.
According to Angel Abcede, senior editor at CSP magazine, e-cigarette sales have been growing at a steady pace of 30% each month (1). More and more people want e-cigarettes, so companies are flourishing. If e-cigarette use continues to grow at a steady pace, Abcede expects sales to reach $27 billion by 2022 (1).
Own words hereAlong with the booming e-cigarette industry comes regulations and rules. E-cigarettes generate a lot of profit and people of all ages are trying to get their hands on these products. To prevent illness and brain damage the government stepped in and put regulations on e-cigarettes knowing their effects. According to Karen Hughes, who served as the Secretary of State for the Public Diplomacy and public affairs in the United States, “law prohibits the sale, purchase or procession of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 (1).” Although these laws are set in place, youth still manage to get ahold of the devices. According to Hughes, most under aged users receive products illegally from family members or friends, and 62% of adolescents receive e-cigarettes from family or friends over the age of 18 (1). Adolescents are being drawn to these products because people around them are using them and encouraging them to try. To prevent influence in public places the government and states have set up regulations.
According to the Public Health Law Center laws have been set in place that ban the use of e-cigarettes in health facilities, day cares, government owned buildings, and any school districts (1). This is because of the harm they can cause, and because of the influence users create. In most states, regulations of e-cigarettes are similar to smoking laws. According to Ryan Martin, editor for the BYU-Idaho Scroll newspaper, explains that “e-cigarette regulations fall underneath the same regulations as state-by-state smoking laws (1).” E-cigarettes fall under the same regulations because they are considered a tobacco product. With e-cigarettes being a tobacco product you must be 18 years of age to use them, and according to Martin no matter the age of the consumer sale to a minor is illegal and considered a misdemeanor (1). These laws are set in place to help keep young people safe and healthy.
Along with the state-by-state laws, also comes laws on packaging. According to Martin, all e-cigarettes are required to be sold with the label saying: “WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical (1).” Warnings are set in place to inform on the effects the substance could have. My notes/ things I could add: but along with such a booming industry comes regulationsWhile e-cigarettes are marketed as a safer and more efficient way of smoking, and that they can help end the addiction to tobacco smoking e-cigarettes are not the better route. Studies about e-cigarettes and smoking behavior show conflicting results.
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