Vaping has revolutionised nicotine consumption. One in two smokers will die because of their addiction and in the second decade of the twenty-first century we have engineered a solution. Electronic cigarettes have been shown to be far more effective than any other smoking cessation tool. Nicotine patches that induce night-terrors are no match for the blueberry doughnut flavour that just filled your tank. However, Research from the ecig review site found that 65% of people worry that the nature of e-cigarettes mean that children are more likely to pick up the habit.
The smell of e-liquids alone is enough to send an adult’s sweet tooth twitching, let alone a child. Should parents worry about vaping in front of their children for this reason? It’s a sensible question and while there have been shown to be negligible passive effects it’s worth thinking about. Vaping in front of children normalises the movements and assorted visual cues, such as the cloud of vapour. This may lead to them being more willing to try vaping for themselves.
In America, it is claimed vaping has risen among teenagers. This is a worrying statistic if viewed alone. When contrasted with the information that smoking is less popular than ever before among high-school students it paints a more difficult picture. More teenagers vaping and less smoking is positive in the short term, but vaping is very new. We don’t yet know all the effects. Vaping will still cause harm and should not be encouraged. There are also gateway concerns; the argument that vaping will lead to smoking is strongly represented in the media. However this theory has been quashed by the Royal College of Physicians who report that e-cigs only provide a small risk of enticing non-smokers to vape. They suggest that the use of e-cigarettes is almost entirely limited to those who are already using tobacco.
This information should be welcomed. We want to operate as a pathway out of addiction rather than into it and this includes discouraging non-smokers from vaping. E-liquids with no nicotine in also poses a unique problem, there are still risks from inhaling anything other than air.
While there is work to be done, there is little risk of a health epidemic in 50 years due to vaping. Branding and marketing could do more to avoid appealing to children including no longer using cartoons to move products. We need to think carefully about what vaping should mean and be for, a smoking cessation device. Diligence and community care should keep children away as much as possible and teachers being aware of the new dangers will help too. The fact remains that some children, adults vaping today included, started to smoke long before the legal age. There is work that need to be done to prevent that but we shouldn’t pretend that vaping causes an elevated threat.