We see it everywhere. Vaping has consumed the media, the healthcare industry, and sadly, fellow Americans. The new fad, thought to be a healthy alternative to smoking, has resulted in illness taking the lives of people nationwide.
Being dubbed the “vaping lung illness” by media, symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and coughing among other signs. Although the majority of diagnosed patients used e-cigarette products, there’s still some confusion on if it caused the illness. “We do not yet know the specific cause of these illnesses. The investigation has not identified any specific e-cigarette or vaping product or substance that is linked to all cases,” the CDC said.
This isn’t the first time e-cigarette products have made headlines. Improper use and/or care combined with cheap product has led to multiple vape batteries exploding, rendering people toothless and even lifeless. Another pre existing issue is how roughly 20 percent of highschoolers use vape pens. “The companies have youths wrapped around their finger,” Madison College student Lexi Anderson said.
This mysterious illness was the tipping point for lawmakers. New York became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cig products. Shorty after, the Trump administration announced the FDA was concocting a plan to take the products off the market.
However, some consider it controversial to remove a product that is not yet linked to sickness. Though it’s almost certain e-cigs have deaths attached to their names, it’s reasonable to be upset if our freedoms are revoked before it’s confirmed. Believing something or someone is innocent until proven guilty is fundamental in our justice system, a moral not being applied in the case of e-cigs. Many morals the US claims to have are double standards, it’s okay if we give certain people the presumption of innocence, but we turn that ideal around when we are sure someone is guilty.
Besides, the CDC has vouched that vaping is an alternative to traditional smoking. E-cigs are less harmful than cigarettes, which contain 7,000 chemicals and attribute to eight million deaths per year. Taking that “weaning off” option away from someone could make tobacco-addicted youth and adults alike stick to their habit of smoking cigarettes.
However, people also have to consider the fact that vaping is an alternative goes two ways. It helps struggling tobacco addicts turn to a healthier option, but is also replacing smoking. We’re not seeing the amount of smokers go down, instead, we are witnessing smokers get addicted to THC. “Replacement” is a more appropriate word than “alternative.” Lung cancer was replaced by a mysterious disease and popcorn lung, a disease that damages the lungs airways. THC replaced tobacco. 41 million habitual vapers replaced 34.3 million tobacco users. Sure, vaping is physically safer, but is just as if not more harmful in making people kick their addictive habits.
In that sense, all addictive products including alcohol and caffeine should be banned. However, doing that would destroy the economy, cause outrage, and lead to more crime since people would still create and use products illegally. Coming up with a compromise would be difficult, so instead we label these addictions as “acceptable” in society.
E-cigs have been deemed as unacceptable, so action has been taken against it. There’s no equal or fair way to deal with the vaping epidemic. Our nation always attempts to choose the lesser of the evils, although sometimes the decisions have ill-intentions. In this case, it appears that lawmakers are choosing the lives of people over the pleasure of e-cigarettes.
“Don’t do it. It’s not worth it,” Anderson continued.. “We don’t know what's in them and we don't know what could happen. It’s best to be safe, than sorry.”