It's time to stop

Illustration by Amy Czachowski

Look, I get it — electronic cigarettes have never been so appealing as they are now. Vape technology consumption has never been more convenient. It seems everybody my age is constantly chasing that instantaneous feeling of pleasure or a calming effect on stress and anxiety, especially when it comes prepackaged in fruit-flavored, disposable cartridges that can be found on every street corner. But it’s time to stop.

To my peers: Let’s stop willingly giving ourselves nicotine addictions just because it is convenient.

As someone that admittedly enjoyed the occasional cigarette, I was initially on board with vaping. I was by no means addicted to cigarettes, but on the few occasions each month when I would have normally smoked a cigarette, vapes seemed like a healthy alternative. In fact, they probably still are. But very few people are using them as an alternative, and it seems with each passing day, more and more studies are being released showing that e-cigarettes come with a massive risk of their own.

Perhaps e-cigarettes were introduced to the nicotine market as a healthy alternative to smoking, but this is no longer how they are being advertised, and they can no longer be considered healthy.

A 2017 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2017 a record low 7.6% of high school students using cigarettes on one or more occasion, but saw that number jump back up to 8.1% in 2018. Meanwhile, the same survey concluded that from 2017 to 2018, the percentage of high school students using e-cigarettes jumped from 11.7% to 20.8%.

No one can convince me that these adolescents picked up vaping as a healthy alternative to cigarettes. When looking at the numbers, it is simply illogical.

What is more likely is that these adolescents have acquired a nicotine habit from smoking e-cigarettes. Of course the fault does not only fall to the products themselves, but can you blame young, impressionable people for falling into the trap? I have had a hard time not doing so.

These devices are marketed as a healthy alternative to cigarettes, are advertised in a wide variety of sweet flavors and look like an Apple product. The showings are all there for a successful product, so why would these massive distributors even mention the health risks or the thousands of new addictions being created?

As of Sept. 6, the CDC reported more than 450 possible cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products. Six deaths from the CDC’s investigation were confirmed. How bad will these statistics get? I really couldn’t tell you, but I certainly am going to avoid being among them. Vaping is not worth the risk. Never mind that it’s expensive, too.