Up in smoke: Inside the rise of e-cigarrettes

The use of e-cigarettes, otherwise known as vaping, has been growing at an unprecedented rate over the past few years. Cigarettes are regulated heavily and are a major cause of death to chronic users. Consumers are eager to switch to what has been deemed a “healthier alternative.”

E-cigarettes simulate the feel of smoking, but do not contain tobacco. Studies have shown that it is less dangerous for your health, and the culture around it makes it popular with young people.

For example, Juul is a company that has used social media and youth appeal to grab a hold of over half the e-cigarette market.

While none of them contain tobacco, the main ingredient in these electronic cigarettes is still the main addictive component of tobacco, nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive, and can cause damage to the heart, reproductive system, lungs, kidneys and aid in the development of cancer cells.

While some e-cigarettes have nicotine free options, other toxins can be found in e-cigarettes: compounds like formaldehyde, nitrosamines, lead, and silicate, which can still cause damage to your body.

“I don’t really think about the health drawbacks,” said one NSU student who requested anonymity. “But I only use it recreationally because I don’t want my lungs to wind up black.”

The vaping industry has been largely unregulated in the United States since they are tobacco free. This makes it easy in some states to purchase them, especially for minors.

While this lack of regulation increases sales and expansion, it fails to regulate youth consumption of these products. Nicotine has been shown to be detrimental to the still-developing brains of minors and can lead to a life-long battle with addiction.

It is for this reason that some cites like Boston, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles have restricted their use, with states like Utah, New Jersey and North Dakota banning them outright.

The culture around vaping started underground, but has been growing more mainstream with its popularity among young people.

Around campus, Francis Conine recalled the only time she’s had a problem with vaping: when a student vaping in the Student Services building set off the alarm, forcing everyone to evacuate the building.

While vaping has proven useful to those adults who wish to quit smoking cigarettes, it is important for those who choose to recreationally use e-cigarettes to understand the risks associated with using these devices.

Stock photo.

Anthony Renteria

Share your thoughts