I’ll be the first to admit it: The argument that vaping is unsafe or unhealthy is still inconclusive.
I have friends who successfully kicked cigarette habits thanks to vaping, and that’s a legitimate use of e-cigs. However, the fact remains that e-cig “juice” contains chemicals whose negative effects on the human body we have definitive proof of, like nicotine, for example. With recent plans out of the White House to curtail sales and Michigan’s own restrictions on e-cigs, the ban has reached its own nationwide level of complicated discourse.
The fact that the Trump administration, of all governmental bodies, is bringing the hammer down on e-cigs is one I care little about. Considering the amount of despair they sow across the country, I’m not at all convinced that they’re concerned by vape-related fatalities. These fatalities, moreover, have not yet been connected to nicotine vaping, which is the target of all bans at both the state and federal level.
More likely, these deaths are a result of purchasing black market THC cartridges, which commonly use vitamin E oil as a sort of additive. Inhaling this oil is a bad idea, to say the least.
The science is a little beyond me, personally, but the gist of it is that, once inside the lungs, vitamin E oil acts as a sort of coating over the “pulmonary surfactant layer,” which is what allows the body to absorb oxygen. In my research, I read an article that described it as “Saran-wrapping the inside of your lungs,” which is maybe the most terrifying thing I’ve ever read.
In any case, many states are looking into enacting nicotine vaping bans on their own. With an explicit ban that came down just this past Sunday, New York is the first. This has many people, from vape users to business owners, riled up about the fact that their use of fruit-flavored vapes is being limited at the government level.
However, the ban isn’t an infringement of personal freedoms or the overstepping of bounds by big government that many may think it is. It’s a public safety issue, first and foremost.
Smoking actual cigarettes was once commonplace enough to warrant entire smoking sections in restaurants. There’s a reason why “no smoking” is right next to “fasten your seatbelt” on airplanes. People actually used to smoke everywhere, and people thought that it was not only normal, but safe.
A fear that has actually been realized is that vaping has become normalized to a similar extent. Its inherent ties to youth culture and memes make it all the more dangerous. Last year, Juul shut down all of their social media accounts amidst criticism of their presence on platforms often frequented by children e.g., social media.
There are arguments to be made about the access young people have to illicit substances, such as vape juice. I’m not going to dismiss their endless fonts of energy and creativity for procuring said illicit substances, because that still exists. . Realistically, the FDA’s slow reaction to the vaping industry has made access to these substances pretty simple.
What’s more disturbing, though, is how popular vaping is among young people, by which I mean actual children.
The effects of nicotine on developing brains is well-documented and overwhelmingly negative. Various studies have pointed at a higher likelihood of developing psychiatric disorders and cognitive impairment, as well as other things like diabetes, infertility and respiratory failure.
If this sounds alarmist, it isn’t. It’s just what nicotine does to people, particularly adolescents to adults in their mid-20s. That’s part of the reason why there’s so much controversy around vaping. Smoking had been on a downward trend for years, only for vaping to bring it back like a zombie from our dark cyberpunk future.