After what seemed to be a positive movement away from smoking with anti-cigarette ads and tobacco education, vaping has set us back and has brought about many new health complications.
What began as an immense effort to reduce tobacco usage, vaping products quickly became a problem of its own.
Amid lawsuits against vape companies, there have been 380 confirmed and probable cases of vaping-related lung diseases — including six cases resulting in death — which were reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cases include incidents with both legal and illegal e-liquids.
Since their invention in the early 2000s, e-cigarettes, vape pens and personal vaporizers have rapidly popularized in the United States, especially among children, teenagers and young adults who should not have been targeted in the first place.
In 2017, over 3 million high school students and 570,000 middle school students admitted to using e-cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Companies such as JUUL unethically market their products without scientific evidence, claiming e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional methods of nicotine consumption such as tobacco.
The Federal Drug Administration has responded to the corrupt marketing tactics by issuing a warning letter to JUUL. The letter outlines the allegations of improper marketing.
Prior to marketing their products as less harmful than tobacco, JUUL had not conducted any scientific studies to back this claim. The company had even sent representatives to schools across the country to market the products, according to Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless.
In one such case, a representative of JUUL told a ninth-grade classroom that their products were “totally safe,” according to the testimony of two teenagers who were present during the incident.
While vaping has presented problems in the past, such as with illegal e-liquids containing THC, flakka and other drugs, the latest allegations of health complications caused by vaping are of much greater concern.
The mysterious lung illness which is likely to have resulted from vaping has appeared in multiple cases across 36 different states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The outbreak has allegedly been attributed to chemical exposure and has been reported in patients using products with THC and/or nicotine.
Most recently, there were multiple cases of “severe pulmonary disease” resulting from street-purchased THC oil which contained vitamin E acetate, a vape cartridge additive.
The vaping crisis should have been avoided altogether by addressing the advertising strategies of these companies sooner. Since the crisis is growing, we need to crack down on the vaping industry and prevent companies from taking advantage of vulnerable groups, such as children. The health complications are worrisome, and we need to hold these companies accountable for what they’ve set in motion.