Vaping Isn’t as Harmless as You Think

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Vaping Isn’t as Harmless as You Think

Courtesy of Seth Harrington/The Charger Bulletin

Courtesy of Seth Harrington/The Charger Bulletin

Courtesy of Seth Harrington/The Charger Bulletin

Hannah Providence, Contributing Writer

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E-cigarettes were introduced as an alternative to regular cigarette smoking. JUUL lab’s “alternative cigarettes” mission (from their website, https://www.juul.com) is to “improve the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers by eliminating cigarettes.” 

But JUUL’s targeted demographic — legal, smoking-age consumers — are not the only people  who find e-cigarettes appealing. The CDC says that under-age consumers, more than 3 million high school students and 570,000 middle school students, are using vaping products..

Paula Cappuccia, University of New Haven director of health services, said, “Cigarette smokers started their habit when they were young, and the same thing is happening with the electronic cigarette. It is sad because some companies who supply vape pens are targeting young people with the different flavors and claims that they don’t hurt you as badly as cigarettes do.” 

The vape pen is modern in design, discrete in visibility and diverse in cartridge flavors, such as fruit, cinnamon bun and Sour Patch Kids candy. 

Despite the fun flavors, vaping isn’t as harmless as companies such as JUUL have said. A recent survey of 1,000 people conducted by LendEDU found that JUUL users spend an average of $180 a month on JUUL products. The consistent consumption of vaping has serious side effects and might even be fatal. E-cigarettes contain nicotine, the same addictive substance found in conventional cigarettes.

 On August 24, an Illinois resident died from a severe lung-illness, USA Today reported. Melaney Arnold, Illinois Dept. of Health’s information officer, said the death was the first reported of a e-cigarette user in her state. A second e-cigarette user died in Oregon from a respiratory illness. On Sept. 6, there was a third death in Indiana, and just hours later, Minnesota and California each reported a death. On Sept. 11, a sixth death was confirmed in Kansas. As of press time, eight people had reportedly died of vaping-related illnesses. While no vaping-related deaths have been reported in Connecticut, 13 people have been hospitalized for vaping-related illnesses so far, according to the state Department of Public Health.

And those who’ve died are just a small portion of the dozens of recent hospitalizations of e-cigarette users. Otherwise healthy teenagers and young adults make up the bulk of those patients.

For its part, the university has banned vaping and e-cigarettes “for four years now,” said Cappuccia. “But we know that staff and students still smoke off campus, and we want to make sure we are still spreading awareness about the harm it can cause.

“Cigarettes and e-cigarettes are similar in addiction,” he said. “Vape devices also have nicotine, and that is the part that’s habit forming.”