Young People and Vaping

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What’s with “vaping?” Is it just me, or has it become way more popular with my generation as we’ve been growing up? I know people younger than me who vape, and a few who are a few years older, but it seems to me that nobody my parents’ age is vaping. Is it a generational thing? And, if so, what might this mean in terms of laws and health and stuff like that? I remember being told not to smoke cigarettes as a kid, but nobody ever told me not to vape.

Vaping didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, but there’s no denying that it has gained a great deal of popularity in a relatively short time.

The first modern e-cigarettes debuted 14 years ago. They were seen widely--and more or less correctly--as a substitute for smoking cigarettes. They were made to look like cigarettes, and they claimed to offer cigarette smokers a healthy alternative to quitting nicotine entirely. Whether or not e-cigarettes were--or are--healthy is still in dispute, but the fact that they are better than their cigarette competition is widely accepted by experts.

But vaping was not destined to remain solely a substitute for cigarettes. Their appeal is broader than cigarettes, thanks in part to the fact that vaping uses e-liquids. E-liquids are the substances that are heated up and turned into “vapor” (actually, it’s technically an aerosol, which means particles suspended within a gas) inside of the e-cigarette. E-liquids are available in a wide range of flavors and types, say the e-liquid wholesalers at Ejuice. That helps explain the broad appeal of e-cigarettes and vaping.

That broad appeal has lead to a huge surge in popularity for vaping. The numbers are stunning: studies say vaping’s popularity has grown exponentially since its debut. As of 2015, at least 38% of high schooler reported having tried vaping. And vaping is now more popular than cigarette smoking among teens.

All of that vaping has some people worried. While it is broadly agreed upon that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes, it’s a lot less clear that vaping is healthy in and of itself. Some studies say there’s nothing wrong with vaping, but others warn of dangers. The confusion has led to a strange mix of laws. In some ways, vaping is considered similar to cigarette smoking legally: there are restrictions on where you can do it, and you have to be 18 to buy vaping devices and e-liquids. This legal caution may or may not be merited. Only time will tell.

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” -- William James

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