By Sabrina Solla,Matthew Jones and Benjamin Rabinowitz
NOV 9, 2018
U.S. teenagers are one of the reasons why e-cigarettes sales have soared since 2011. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Youth Tobacco Use in the U.S. graph indicates that 2.1 million middle and high school students use e-cigarettes. While nicotine is the addictive component in vaping, the fruity flavors are specifically designed to entice young people. What many teenagers don’t know is that this not only affects their behavior, but it also has tremendous effects on their health. In her NBCnew.com article, Maggie Fox reported that “Some of the devices deliver a hefty load of nicotine, which decades of research has shown is highly addictive. It also can affect a developing brain in harmful ways.” PBS NOVA reporter Ana Aceves found that young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke tobacco cigarettes in the future.
The most popular vape for teenagers is a USB-shaped flash drive called the JUUL. According to the manufacturer, one pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. ScienceNewsForStudents.org’s Janet Raloff and Beth Mole stated that, “Chemicals in e-cigarettes can damage lung tissue, provoking inflammation. That damage can reduce the ability of the lungs to keep out germs and other harmful substances…” It contains destructive substances, like lead, that can lead to cancer.
Sometimes, teenagers don’t only vape because they want to, but because if they didn’t, they would feel left out. If a teen isn’t vaping, the majority that do, will make that teen feel like an outsider. On the bright side, the FDA issued letters to JUUL and four other e-cigarette companies. Michael Felberbaum stated that, “The agency is asking each company to submit … within 60 days plans describing how they will address the widespread youth access and use of their products. If they fail to do so … the FDA will consider whether it would be appropriate to revisit the current policy that results in these products remaining on the market without a marketing order from the agency.”
According to Chelsea Whyte of NewScientist.com, “Among American high schoolers, vaping reportedly increased by 900 percent between 2011 and 2015… .” Minors play a significant role in the increase of sales. However, merchants are prohibited from selling these products to people under the age of 18.