By Donovan Levine
The future of vaping may be at risk after this year. On Sept. 4, the state of Michigan proposed a vaping ban that prompted the rest of the U.S. to join the conversation.
According to the National Public Radio, the company of JUUL accepted a proposed ban on flavored vaping products, and then, their CEO, Kevin Burns, stepped down on Sept. 25.
Since the proposals to ban flavored vapes, the company has stopped advertisements in the U.S.
Vapes are slang for battery-powered vaporizers known as electronic cigarettes or e-cigs. Vaping is also considered to be different from smoking since smoking involves combustion and the burning of a substance into the lungs while vaping does not involve combustion and mimics the action of smoking. Unlike cigarettes, which contain tobacco, tar, lead, nicotine, caffeine, ethanol and some percentage of cyanide and arsenic, e-cigs and vapes mostly only contain nicotine and vegetable glycerin and Propylene Glycol oils, chemicals commonly found in food dyes.
Dr. Cidambi, in that same article, explains, “Juul contains nearly 59 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of liquid, while a regular cigarette has about 12 milligrams of nicotine. So Juul is at least four times as potent as cigarettes.”
They were initially proposed as a healthy alternative to regular smoking and swept the nation in a cloud, almost literally, in 2016, increasing by close to 900% among high school students according to an article released by PsychologyToday. High schools are the top consumers of vapes and e-cigs.
“The Keystone” released an article in May of 2018 about how the JUUL phenomenon went viral across the university. Only a year and a half since that article and the trend may already be over.
New York, Michigan and Massachusetts have already banned the selling of vapes due to FDA health concerns.
“At least 530 people in 38 states have been sickened with a vaping-related lung disease, and nine people have died. Health experts are also concerned about long-term pulmonary issues from vaping,” said the NPR.
However, the ban is still receiving plenty of backlash from consumers, questioning the newsworthiness of said “vaping illness.” Many believe the illnesses are a result of black market THC pods and not standard vapes used by teenagers and young adults.
Others believe the government is singling out people who vape.
“Personally, I don’t believe vaping should be banned,” said Kean MacLelland, a graduate assistant at the MSU. “It shouldn’t be the government’s business to get involved with the issue of vaping when there are bigger issues going on. If you look at the gun crisis or the opioid crisis, those have caused a lot more deaths than the few lives taken from vaping. The government is handpicking crises to care about.”
Also, many of the tests that found residue of metal in the lungs resulted from pressing the button too long, causing inhalation of overheated, broken-down vapes.
“Vaping does not kill people,” said Mike Sandy, “Vaping products are safe for adults. People under the age of 18 should not have these products. If you ban vapes you cause people to go back to smoking, something that is known to kill you.”
Even if a vaping ban were put in place, would most teens and young adults continue to vape anyway? Is it fair to ban vaping when cigarettes are still legal? While things looked much more progressive during the Obama administration once Cuban cigars and rum bans were lifted, the era of vaping may not receive that same amnesty.