“Mentally Ill Teens Vaping”: What’s Really Going On

Earlier this week the “News Medical: Life Science and Medicine” website posted an article about how teenagers with moderate mental health problems who may not have considered smoking conventional cigarettes otherwise are now turning to vaping “electronic cigarettes” instead. This article started off especially excellent because of the middle of that sentence, they acknowledged that while teens may be vaping now they are the likely the exact teens that would have turned to smoking cigarettes otherwise.

Now, many would say that despite that deterrent from smoking, teens vaping is still a serious problem. I would actually whole heartedly agree with them. While there is a lot of evidence pointing towards vaping being harmless, it’s important that the industry becomes regulated before vaporizers are available to those that are under aged. I mostly say this because at this time cheap low grade nicotine juices coming in from China are not regulated and could potentially be harmful. While I am no fan of most of the regulations that have been proposed, that has mostly been because vaporizers have continually been equated to tobacco products. We need good studies on the effects of vaporizers and comprehensive regulations that will help smooth out the industry without putting small businesses out of business. Unfortunately, that may end up being a quite difficult task given the big tobacco lobbies.

That all being said, this article does take a bad turn towards the end and it ends up right where it seems most articles about vaping end. Making wild accusations without scientific support. They, ironically, began by saying that vaping has not become demonized in our society in any way. I think any casual vaper could easily refute this statement though. Have you or any fellow vaper you have known not come across people disgusted by your discreet vaping and asking you to move out by the dumpsters across the street with the “rest of the smokers.” Hell, I’ve even encountered smokers that “don’t trust” vaporizers as they continue to suck in their smoking tar! The article then goes on to quote “Jennifer Unger, study co-author and professor of preventive medicine at Keck Medicine of USC. ‘This study shows that e-cigarettes are attracting a lower-risk group of teens: Those who would not ordinarily be inclined to smoke cigarettes because of the social norms against smoking. E-cigarettes are increasing the risk of disease among this low-risk group.'” This is a very loaded statement made by Jennifer Unger, it is also one thrown out there without evidence to back it up.

While, once again, I agree that it would be best to keep all things bad away from teens it seems time and time again to not be the practical approach. Both Jennifer Unger and I would love to live in a perfect world but we just don’t. While I would never sell any nicotine products to someone underaged I am glad that they are turning away from cigarettes. Every smoker I’ve known started in their teens, if a good number of those could be prevented I would be one happy girl.

Happy vaping!

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