Caught up in the Smoke

Kalia Richardson, News Editor

The Truth, a foundation that targets cigarette smokers, especially youth, works to stop smoking through ad campaigns, such as #finishit. Only, #vapelyfe and #chickswhovape appear to have a louder following. A new craze has risen on the surface as vape shops dominate the market, an update to the 20th century trend of taking a smoke.

Formaldehyde, nicotine, arsenic and all other chemicals cultivating the product we consider a cigarette are on their way out. Through campaigns, such as The Real Cost and The Truth, smoking trends in South Florida are beginng to decline. The origins of vaping began in 2007 in China, as it traveled the globe to the U.S., the trend exploded into a $2 billion industry. E-cigarettes, in the early stages, were promoted to smokers as this safe alternative and encouraged them to make the switch. Through the liberation e-cigarettes provided, retired smokers prided themselves for overcoming powerful cigarette companies and escaping the endless complaints from bypassers.

“E-cigarettes don’t have as many toxins as natural cigarettes do,” sophomore Francisco Rodriguez said. “Cigarettes are toxins and paper. E-cigarettes are just water vapor excluding any of that stuff.”

From the evidence provided by social media sites and Tobacco Free Florida ad campaigns, Rodriguez formulates such claims on the vaping craze. If you can’t beat them, join them; what they don’t know is that in order to compete with e-cigarette companies, they created Blu eCigs, Vuse and MarkTen – partnerships to big tobacco companies. Many smokers like Cheryl Richters who accompanied Long Island vapers in 2009 which evolved into the National Vapers Club, is aware of the monopolizing cigarettes and E-cigarette companies, he just wanted the discrimination to stop. He felt tired of receiving those looks of disgust and commentary underneath all that smoke.

Not only does vaping save one from self-inflicted hate, but the harmful health impacts that come along with it, disintegrate.

“It has toxins that [destroy] some of the organs and damage your eyesight, your brain cells, the way you talk, you eat, the way your lungs functions,” Rodriguez said.

Yes, cigarettes are loaded with consequences, but the impacts of smoking an e-cigarette remains undetermined as of now. One Drexel University researcher claims e-cigarettes pose little health risk. As far as the FDA knows, e-cigarettes present no evidence of helping smokers quit. Brian King, a senior adviser with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health, claims no significant evidence reveals that e-cigarettes aid smokers from even quitting. He claims that the only improvement exists in the amount of individuals who caught on to the vape bandwagon. In some states, even students can access it. From 2011-2012, vaping cigarettes doubled among middle and high school students. The prevalence of this new technology among students demonstrates correlations to homework and test overload.

“For some, picking up a vape cigarette acts like a stress reliever,” sophomore Jacob Stone said.

Just like candy, the flavors are endless. The plastic squeeze-bottle-packaged e-juice come in 7764 flavors including favorites, sour apple and vanilla. In 2014, the American Heart Association discovered 466 brands of e-cigarettes along with the thousands of flavors. With such high commodities, it lures veterans and newbies with no indication of preventing smoking and no harmful impacts to take note of, into yet another money making business, another reason to step out and take a puff.