Teen Vaping: This Again?
As I’m sure you’ve seen, teen vaping is almost always at the forefront of the news lately. Some doctors and researchers go so far as to name it an epidemic, and have even brought up the “gateway” argument — that vaping leads to smoking cigarettes, which leads to smoking marijuana, which we all know inevitably leads to doing crack.
Sounds a bit silly right?
Primarily, I’m not going to explain in technical, academic terms what vaping is — if you’re reading this blog, you’re smart enough to know people are using a machine to put vapour (and sometimes nicotine) into their lungs, and then blowing it out again to disappear into the wilderness. What I do want to explain is the attraction media has to highlighting just how awful vaping is, and why teens are so easily converted to vaping in the year of our Lord 2019.
Why Flavours Are Important
The government of Canada is honestly…being stupid. So they have been consistently citing studies that don’t exist (unless published by Big Tobacco, yuck) in order to try and prove teen smoking is on the rise. The reality of the situation is that between 2016 and ’17 — a bit dated, I know — youth smoking of cigarettes between the ages of 12 and 17 dropped by 4000 people. That’s in one (1) year. In fact, teen smoking is at an all time low, which seems to always be overlooked.
Flavours of e-juice are super important for people coming off of cigarettes, which is the intended clientele for vape shops. If flavoured juice weren’t available for those people, they would be incredibly less likely to actually stop smoking cigarettes. It is critical to find a juice people love when they’re coming from cigarettes, and the only way to make that happen is through a plethora of available flavours.
Why Convenience Stores Are Not
In my personal opinion — and the opinion of the rest of us here at Summit — the vape industry should be limited to specialty stores such as ours. Our store, like the majority of specialty vape shops, is a 19+ location, and we are very insistent on maintaining that. Our goal is to get smokers to stop smoking, not for teens to be addicted to nicotine. When vape products are so readily available at convenience stores, it creates a relatively easy environment for teens to purchase the products, especially those with ridiculously high nicotine levels that I would never recommend to even a cigarette smoker of 40 years.
If specialty stores were the only places where vapes and vape products were available, the access to teens would be diminished by a lot, and we could more easily control the sales environment of these products to those adults quitting smoking.
A really interesting article touches on the aftermath of criminalizing vaping, and the effects on the community at large. In very basic terms, the criminalization of e-cigarettes tends to perpetuate the spiral of poverty amongst working class citizens. If the government should ban the use, and even ownership, of vapes, the general law-abiding public has no choice but to access something easier — cigarettes, which ironically remain on shelves without much intervention these days. The entire point of vapes and vaping is to help people move to an inherently safer option than smoking cigarettes, not to mention a far less expensive option.
I would really recommend reading this article in full. It’s truly incredible! You can access it by clicking here, or by sending Summit Vape Co. a message on social media and we can easily get it to you.
So, Why Are Vapes Attractive to Teens?
Ultimately, it comes down to a new commodity, the easiness and relative availability of the product(s), and the technological advancement of cigarettes. When you think about it, we are in an age where technology is advancing in every way, shape, and form, and if we have found a safer, healthier way to get nicotine in our bodies, why not have that as an option over the nasty chemicals and deteriorating effects on the environment we see from smoking cigarettes.
I want to take this opportunity to reiterate that teen smoking is at an all time low, and while I don’t agree with the access to vapes teens currently have, I would always rather see people vaping than smoking cigarettes.
Researchers are constantly working on proving our message, and we love to see that. Teens are reportedly not seeing nicotine and tobacco addictions as ‘cool’ or even viewing them in a more positive light. Only 27% of teens said it’s okay to try a cigarette compared to a whopping 70% just 15 years ago.
When I say that vapes are better for the environment, and better for human bodies than smoking cigarettes, I can promise I mean it, and all of us at Summit are passionate about that message.
We don’t like it when teens vape. We don’t want teens to be vaping, as is the case with the majority of specialty vape shops. There are so many articles highlighting the importance of vaping over cigarettes, and we need to get the message out that if the general public is going to be putting nicotine in their bodies, it’s crucial they do it in a healthier and safer way than smoking cigarettes.
How can we tackle teen vaping, while keeping the option open for people quitting smoking cigarettes?