When cigarettes first became popular, many people smoked. Cigarettes were advertised on the television and the radio. They were endorsed by celebrities, characterized as sophisticated and marketed towards teenagers. At the time, there was little to no research about the effects, short or long-term, but that didn’t seem to stop smokers. They were the lab rats of a trend, and in 1965, 42.4 percent of adults in America were addicted, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
But, decades later, when researchers and doctors started to see a correlation between lung cancer and smoking, they came to a conclusion. Consistently smoking cigarettes caused cancer.
Thus, the people taking the risk became the people who suffered grave consequences.
After decades of smokers struggling to kick their addiction, smoking electronic cigarettes, the act of inhaling “water vapor” through a tobacco-free version of a traditional cigarette, emerged as a potential gateway into sobriety for smokers.
But in recent years, the marketers have targeted teenagers in a similar way that they once did for cigarettes––they’ve changed the name to vaping and created flavors geared towards younger demographics, a few of which include Starburst and Skittles.
As a result, in the past few years, this strategy for quitting has consequently transformed into a gateway to other nicotine products, especially for teenagers.
The bad news is that the long-term effects won’t be investigated, or conclusive, for years or even decades to come. The tests conducted have been inconclusive, and while we know vapes have less chemicals than cigarettes, we don’t know the definite effects of the chemicals in them.
So who is to blame for the lack of information? Is it the irresponsible marketers? Is it the media’s responsibility to inform us? The government’s responsibility to conduct tests and studies? Or is it the consumer’s responsibility to wait until they know the effects of vaping and can make an educated decision about it?
And yet, for all we know, vaping could have virtually no negative effects; the long-term health risks could be minimal. But, if the history of cigarettes has taught us anything, something that hasn’t been thoroughly researched or is brand new to the market isn’t always safe.
Right now, those who vape are the lab rats of the trend. Since we can’t offer any scientific information that’s not already out there, we choose to pose questions.
Do you want to be the person who suffers the potential consequences of vaping? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Are you willing to be a fatality of the fad?