America vows to crack down on vaping epidemic

Big business: Vapers in the US, the UK and Japan spent $16.3 billion on smokeless tobacco in 2016.

Should e-cigarettes be banned? Vaping company Juul has slammed rival brands which sell flavours aimed at children. Meanwhile in the US, vaping has jumped by 80% among teenagers.

There are more than 40 million vapers worldwide. The global e-cigarette market is estimated to be worth $22.6 billion.

Last week, the FDA found that vaping among teenagers had increased by 80%. The organisation’s head has vowed to crack down on e-cigarettes targeted at young people.

How dangerous are they?

E-cigarettes contain only a tiny fraction of the chemicals that make smoking tobacco so dangerous. But they do contain nicotine, which is what makes smoking addictive.

“What’s the problem?” you might ask.

Nicotine can still harm your lungs. There is also the fact that, since vaping is such a new phenomenon, we simply do not have any data on its long-term health effects.

But the more pressing concern is that young people may take up vaping as a gateway drug before moving on to real cigarettes.

Worldwide, more than six million people die from smoking-related diseases each year.

While people disagree on just how dangerous vaping is, everyone agrees it is less harmful than smoking.

Yet the tide of political opinion seems to be turning against vaping. Sales are banned to under 18s in most countries. Brazil has even gone so far as to ban vaping entirely.

What should our attitude be?

Smoking gun

Vape and let vape, say some. We should view e-cigarettes as one of the great health breakthroughs of modern times. Vaping is weaning millions off a deadly habit. It may not be completely harmless, but it is miles safer than tobacco. Banning it, taxing it and discouraging it could kill millions.

Be very careful, reply others. There are still too many mysteries surrounding vaping to give it the green light. Until we know its full effects, we should stay on the safe side. It is obvious that taking up vaping makes taking up smoking tobacco more likely. There are better ways of giving up smoking.

You Decide

  1. Should vaping be encouraged or discouraged?

Activities

  1. Draw a diagram illustrating the difference between the effects of smoking and the effects of vaping.

Some People Say...

“Smoking is the perfect way to commit suicide without actually dying.”

Damien Hirst

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Smoking is ever so slightly on the decline. There are roughly a billion smokers worldwide, around half of whom are Chinese. Vaping remains largely a habit of richer countries.
What do we not know?
There are contradictory findings over whether taking up vaping makes people more likely to take up smoking tobacco in the future.

Word Watch

40 million vapers worldwide
This compares to around a billion smokers. But just seven years ago, in 2011, there were only five million regular users of e-cigarettes.
$22.6 billion
Up from $4.2 billion just five years ago.
FDA
The US government agency that protects public health by regulating food safety, tobacco, prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, vaccines and cosmetics.
New phenomenon
Though vaping only became widespread in the last few years, the first “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” was invented in 1963 by a man named Herbert Gilbert.

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.