YOUTH AND VAPING

It’s no secret that most smokers begin at the age of 16- 22. Most smokers began to experiment with cigarettes at a young age. There are several factors that influence whether kids smoke or not: peer pressure, adult smoking, coping with stress and advertising. Globally, the estimated numbers of boys and girls 13–15 years old who smoke cigarettes or use smokeless tobacco products are approximately 38 Million .

Although cigarette smoking is the most common type of tobacco use among youth worldwide, the use of other tobacco products is very common in some populations. For example, smokeless tobacco was the most common tobacco product used by boys and girls aged 13–15 in Nepal in 2011, with prevalence of 19.7% and 12.9%, respectively, while prevalence of any tobacco product use was 24.6% among boys and 16.4% among girls. Waterpipe smoking has historically been more common in some parts of Asia and north Africa, but it has become popular among young adults, particularly college students, in some other countries. Prevalence of the use of more novel nicotine-containing products (including e-cigarettes) among youth has substantially increased in some very high human development index countries.

E-cigarettes have recently caused an uproar, seeing as in the U.S it’s the most common type of “tobacco” product among middle and high school students. This is causing a public outcry, and as a result many are calling for a blanket ban on vaping products, others calling for a ban on flavors. But, there’s ways we can deal with this issue, let us not throw away the baby with the bath water. It is clear that ecigs are 95% safer than conventional cigarettes; informed regulation is key.

First, simply do not sell e-cigarettes to children under the age of 18. Secondly, the packaging should not be so obviously colorful that it becomes attractive to children. Basic packaging with a label of the flavor on the back is sufficient. It’s also important to note that not all ecigs contain nicotine .Simple measures like this could help in reducing the blame on e-cigarette manufacturers. With the current damage this technology is already causing to the tobacco industry, I am sure they will find any reason to get ecigs banned.

There’s more to ponder though, if we suspect a young person is smoking tobacco or at risk of starting, should we recommend vaping to them? Some tobacco control organizations claim that ecigs are a gateway to smoking for teens and young adults. What is clear though, is that smoking rates among the youth have reduced since e-cigarettes were introduced to the market, and this is a positive step in the fight against smoking. Kids will be kids. I would rather they experiment with vaping products rather than traditional cigarettes.