Vaping Epidemic

  • October 18, 2019

Olivia Joung

Recently, hundreds of people across the country have been sent to hospitals for severe lung damage linked to vaping. According to the New York Times, nobody, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, actually knows why vaping is causing these illnesses in the first place. 

Professionals are urging consumers to avoid buying vapes from the streets, as some individual sellers could potentially be modifying or adding certain chemicals to vape products originally purchased from stores. The FDA is particularly cautioning against THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. 

But why is this epidemic happening now, when vaping has existed for years? The strongest theory at the moment blames the sudden wave of lung-related illnesses on the introduction of some new chemical or combination of chemicals into vape products. Unfortunately, officials are still unaware of what exactly these new substances even are.

Another theory is that these incidences have been happening for a while, but people did not make the connection to vaping until now. Perhaps as vaping has become increasingly popular, more and more cases have been occurring. 

For now, the safest option is to avoid vaping altogether. In fact, on September 11, the Trump Administration announced their plan to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes in America. This could potentially be an effective route, as one of the key attractions of vaping to teenagers is its kids-friendly flavors like strawberry and cherry. 

However, some critics are calling the ban futile, saying that cutting off mainstream access to vape products could push many current e-cigarette users toward actual cigarette products. Ironically, what was once a product meant to help smokers wean quit cigarettes may now actually become a gateway to them. 

Information comes from the New York Times

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