Picture this: the year is 2015. You avidly vape. You tend to do sick vape tricks in your basement while your friend Adam records you in hopes to go viral. Once you have your sick vape trick mastered, Adam ruins everything. You contemplate a new roommate situation, but still manage to go viral showing off your “hidden talent,” when actually it’s a nicotine addiction through a newer technology called a vape pen.
What exactly are e-cigarettes? Where did they come from? Why are they popular, especially amongst the younger crowd? Those are the million dollar questions that while some have answers, not everything is truly known about the full damage this new “trend” can cause. E-cigarettes are battery operated devices that look like of a pen. A heating device within the “pen” turns the liquid used in the device into a vapor when exhaled, in other words, “vaping.”
What’s the issue?
When e-cigarettes first came out, they were seen and advertised as a “safer alternative” to smoking cigarettes. Marketing strategies really took off with the idea that vaping = safe(er) than cigarettes.
This has been especially scary since it’s been the most popular amongst the younger crowd. According to CBS News, there have been countless concerns over health regarding the rise of vaping amongst teens.
According to Psychology Today, vaping is popular amongst teens because of the unique and fun flavors. The media presence from big companies, such as Juul, is huge. The image on the left shows a launch party hosted by Juul where the young attendees are seen using their Juul vape pens.
Common photos and ads are showing vaping as a “cool” and “fun” thing to do, and that “everyone” is doing it, so you should to.
It was a challenge to find good commercials that related to the younger crowd because there have been recent policies to restrict the big companies, such as Juul, to stop advertising their products that directly target the youth.
During the peak popularity of vaping, there were several vine compilations showing just how “cool” vaping was. This video shows a young guy showing off his vaping tricks and that it’s a cool thing you should try too.
The large variety of flavors are seen as one of the biggest issues in advertising e-cigs/vape pens. Times Square Chronicles clearly explains how the media contextualizes vaping. People can vape popcorn, mango, cotton candy, strawberry, and the list goes on for flavors. It’s smells appealing, therefore seen as appealing, especially to younger people. Who wants to smell like nasty smoke when you can smell like cotton candy?
Prevention and Laws from the negative backlash
CBS News reported that there are currently over 800 vaping-related illnesses throughout the U.S., resulting in 12 deaths, but most recently the CDC has reported well over 1,000 illnesses and 26 deaths across the states. All of the patients with the mysterious illnesses all had used a vape pen that contained THC and flavored products.
According to CBS News, Washington is the latest state to call for a ban on all flavored vaping products. Along with Washington, Michigan, New York, and Rhode Island all have declared emergency bans against flavored vaping products and THC containing vaping products.
In the midst of this crisis, Juul CEO Kevin Burns stepped down late last month. Juul company also stopped all U.S. advertising including their print, radio, and digital. With all of the recent related deaths and illnesses, Juul is facing a $13 billion loss.
While I understand it is another immense revenue market in the U.S. alone, I don’t like anything about e-cigarettes or cigarettes. I think it’s ridiculous and not an intelligent thing to purposely fill your body with chemicals such as formaldehyde, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), or glyphosate.
Cigarettes also smell terrible, people pollute cigarette butts all over the ground, and second-hand smoke is detrimental to innocent bystanders. I also have bad asthma, so I would probably not make it long if I turned to vaping or smoking. :’-)
What do you think?
Since our generation is heavily influenced/involved, what do you think? Do you vape yourself? If so, why did you start? Why do you continue if you are aware of how damaging this habit is? Do you think the media influences vaping?
-Contessa Van Buskirk