Vaping and E-cigarettes: What Parents Need to Know
Vaping by teenagers has reached epidemic levels, leaving many concerned about the future health of today's youth. Recently, an advisory was issued by the U.S. Surgeon about the dangers of electronic cigarette use among U.S. teenagers. Parents can play an important role in addressing this public health epidemic. The Surgeon General urged parents and teachers to take action by educating themselves and talking to teens about the dangers of vaping.
Electronic cigarettes, also known as "e-cigs," "e-hookahs," "mods," "juuling," and "vape pens" are battery-operated products designed to deliver nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. They turn chemicals, including highly addictive nicotine, into an aerosol that is inhaled by the user. Most e-cigarettes are manufactured to look like conventional cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. One of the most commonly sold USB flash drive shaped e-cigarettes is JUUL (fda.gov).
Strategies of Tobacco Companies
At first glance, a lot of teens see vaping and juuling as cool and fun. Teens are attracted to the trendy devices and different flavors such as, Airheadz, Cotton Candy, Krspy King, Kaptain Peanut Butter Krunch.
Teens can easily think this is a harmless activity. And that is exactly what marketers and advertisers want teenagers to think - e-cigarettes are harmless. Marketers know that this generation - GenZ, also known as as iGen or Post-Millennials, are smart, well-educated and are constantly connected to endless amount of information via the internet and mobile devices. They also know unlike past generations, they've grown up in a world for the most part, where cigarettes have always had a bad stigma. They have seen countless ads and commercials about how harmful cigarettes can be.
Because of this, teenagers aren't smoking traditional cigarettes like teenagers did in past generations. This now has resulted in a steep sales decline for tobacco companies.
As older customers age up and die off, tobacco companies found a new way to bring in revenue and get the next generation hooked. And that's how vaping came on the scene, engaging more and more young people world-wide.
E-cigarettes entered the U.S. marketplace around 2007, and since 2014, they have been the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. youth. In 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. youth, including 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students, currently use e-cigarettes (www.cdc.gov).