Today, vaping is defined as a good alternative to tobacco smoking, and many students choose e-cigarettes, believing that they are safe and stylish. This practice is becoming more and more relevant every day, with the possibility of using a variety of flavors, colors, and forms. About one in four American high school students vape without even thinking how dangerous this habit can be (LaVito). Parents think it is their responsibility to real all risks of vaping, but students should also understand all potential threats and analyze their options. Despite the benefits of quitting smoking and preventing secondhand smoking, vaping is bad for teenagers because of the impact of harmful chemicals, addictive behaviors, and neurological problems like poor brain development and memory.
One of the most evident reasons for risky vaping is the presence of hazardous chemicals in e-cigarettes. The main idea of vaping is heating the liquid that contains pleasant flavors and solvents and generates an aerosol inhaled in the lungs (Traboulsi et al.). Some students prefer to add cannabis-related products to produce stronger effects. The combination of high temperature and e-liquids results in the generation of particulate matter that has adverse effects on human health (Traboulsi et al.). For example, ultrafine particles penetrate deep into the lungs and are easily absorbed by the bloodstream due to their small size (about 100 nm) (Traboulsi et al.). Diacetyl is used to create the necessary flavor, but this compound provokes bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious clinical syndrome leading to lung transplantation. Lung cancer may be caused by exposure to heavy metals like nickel, tin, chromium, bromine, gold, and steel, which are the elements of e-cigarettes (Traboulsi et al.). These conditions remain asymptomatic for some period, allowing the creation of tiny holes in the lungs and pneumothorax. The severity of the conditions depends on many factors, but vaping is the root.
Another threat of vaping for students is its highly addictive nature. Despite the intention to create a safe smoking device, everyone is aware that most e-cigarettes contain nicotine that is unsafe for teenagers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this stimulant drug is present in 99% of the products, provoking addiction and making teens vulnerable to try other drugs in the future. High addiction ratings in this population can also be explained by the growing brain of teenagers, where some pathways for later substance abuse are built (Gordon). Most kids find it normal to start vaping and reduce the already proven risks of tobacco smoking by replacing them with other chemicals. They look cool in front of their classmates and friends. However, if they get a chance to learn the truth about vaping addiction or damage to their health, they do not stop using e-cigarettes. Nicotine enters the human body and mind through vaping and makes young people addicted and unable to quit without professional help.
Moreover, vaping challenges the way of how the human brain is developed and memory works. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention informs that the brain grows until the mid-20s, and nicotine negatively affects this process and damages the brain. The part that controls attention and learning abilities is traumatized because of vaping. When a new memory is created, or a new skill is gained, brain cells cannot establish the necessary connection (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). This process is called synapses, and it may be permanent or determined, affecting the level of concentration, mood, and memory (Gordon). Instead of creating a favorable environment for brain development, teenagers challenge their bodies and minds with vaping, reducing their abilities and necessary impulses.
Although the disadvantages of vaping are frequently discussed, some people still think that vaping is a solid alternative to tobacco smoking. In the United States, the number of ex-smokers who tried vaping raised to 62% in 2018 compared to 52% in 2009 (Thompson). In general, the statistics are promising and continue improving with decades. For example, in 1965, more than 40% of adults smoked, and in 2018, only 14% had this habit (qtd. in Thompson). Access to e-cigarettes is one of the explanations for these changes, and people hope that vaping helps quit smoking traditional cigarettes. However, such a substitution does not work for all individuals, and many internal and external factors determine this choice.
The effectiveness of vaping among regular tobacco smokers undergoes multiple discussions and concerns. People pose many questions comparing the damage caused by tobacco and e-cigarettes. Tobacco is dangerous for human health as it causes cancer in many cases. Vaping, in its turn, is characterized by many health hazards, including an increased number of lung diseases (Thompson). The conditions under which a person stops tobacco smoking and begins vaping are hard to comprehend regarding health outcomes. Even if individuals neglect the necessity to improve their awareness on this topic, the chemicals of e-cigarettes do not disappear (Traboulsi et al.). Besides, tobacco smoking is forbidden in public places, which increases dependency and the desire to smoke, and vapers have more freedoms because it is usually allowed inside or outside. Although vaping helps reduce negative tobacco smoking habits, its impact on physical and mental health is never positive.
In addition to the existing controversies and debates, vaping remains a safe product for secondhand smokers regarding the chemical properties of these products. According to Traboulsi et al., e-cigarettes differ from tobacco cigarettes in decreased secondhand emissions. Vaping is the process when a person inhales deep into the lungs, meaning that only a few chemicals are exposed outside. Therefore, people around vapers should not inhale the same number of harmful particles as tobacco smokers do. The environment is not as damaged by vaping as by smoking because most chemicals stay inside the body. If society wants to protect nature, vaping turns out to be a significant step in promoting the necessary change. Compared to tobacco smoking, vaping is safer for the environment and people nearby.
To conclude, bad outcomes of vaping still prevail over its benefits from different perspectives. The chemical composition of e-liquids is dangerous for human health, provoking serious lung diseases and cancer. As well as tobacco smoking, vaping provokes addiction, and people need additional help to control their habits and interests. Finally, brain development is determined by the severity and frequency of vaping activities. If a teenager uses e-cigarettes, there is a risk of a poor connection between brain cells that are responsible for attention, memory, and learning capacities. Some people would try to find more reasons for selecting vaping over tobacco products, but the bad impact of both options never disappears. Secondhand smokers could experience positive changes with vapers, but there is no alternative for addiction and lung cancer. It is an individual choice to vape or not to vape, and people are free to develop their statements and experiences.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Quick Facts on the Risks of E-Cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults.” CDC, 2021, Web.
Gordon, Lonna P. “Vaping: What You Need to Know.” Nemours Teens Health, 2019, Web.
LaVito, Angelica. “CDC Says Teen Vaping Surges to More than 1 in 4 High School Students.” CNBC, 2019, Web.
Thompson, Dennis. “U.S. Smoking Rate Hits New Low, but Vaping Rises.” Webmd, 2019, Web.
Traboulsi, Hussein, et al. “Inhalation Toxicology of Vaping Products and Implications for Pulmonary Health.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 21, no. 10, 2020. Web.