If you pay attention to social media even a little bit, then you’ll have noticed that over the past few years, videos featuring vaporizers with hashtags like #vapelife have started popping up all over Instagram and Snapchat.
One thing you may have noticed is that often the individuals exhaling thick white vapor appear to be too young to smoke, which is a bit disturbing.
The truth is that vaping has become insanely popular on high school campuses across North America: the sweet flavors that vaporizer pods come in (mango and crémebrûlée are popular) and the fact that the scent doesn’t cling to your clothes makes it appealing to teenagers.
Additionally, vaping relieves stress levels due to the relaxing effects of nicotine (the liquid in the pods contain 5% nicotine), and today’s teens are reportedly one of the most highly stressed generations in recorded history. Furthermore, while today’s teens enjoy the relaxing effects of nicotine, a recent poll tells us that virtually all teens think that smoking cigarettes is disgusting.
For the most successful e-cigarette companies, such as Juul, this is ostensibly a problem – since children consuming nicotine is a bad look – despite the fact that it also locks in a generation of customers.
For cigarette companies and parents, this rise of vaporizers may seem catastrophic: parents despair that their children are falling victim to addictive behaviour at an incredibly young age; cigarette companies are losing future clients and adult smokers to the inevitable churn created by such an attractive alternative.
The question that lies at the root of all this controversy is this: how unhealthy is vaping? The short answer seems to be: not that unhealthy, but still not great.
According to health experts at Columbia University, if endemic child addiction weren’t an issue, e-cigarettes might actually present a revolution in the general health of the population.
When you smoke a cigarette, you’re burning a plethora of carcinogenic chemicals; by comparison,vape-juice only contains four or five ingredients, and don’t produce any smoke. Even cynical scientists agree that if every single smoker switched to e-cigs, it would literally save millions of lives.
This is not to say that vaping is harmless, but it is almost certainly a less nefarious habit than cigarettes, alcohol or even smoking marijuana (allegedly custom pods can be made with THC oil to vape weed: a teenager’s dream come to life).
So the bottom line is complicated: yes, it’s disturbing to see a generation of teens addicted to nicotine, but also, e-cigs could considerably curb the health damages of traditional cigarettes.
A lot of the time, addicted teens seem to be lethargic, with too much time and money on their hands.
If you get your kids playing music this summer season, or sign them up for a wilderness adventure trip à la Outward Bound, you’ll reduce the chances of them hanging out with their friends and making #vapelife videos to their social media.
If you can make a dent in the adolescent, teen addiction cycle dominated by e-cigs and smartphones, you’ll feel like a superhero.
As a Fitness Editor, I'm obsessed with all things physical - that goes for wind and fresh air, as much as for my body. Whatever your goal - slimming down around your tummy or keeping that regular HIIT exercise routine in check, I'm here to support you.