OP-ED

Addicted to clouds

Posted

Some people may think that a way to quit smoking cigarettes might be to try a vaping product. However, the effects of vaping products are similar to those that occur after smoking cigarettes. Do you ever see a dramatic puff of smoke floating through the air, more dramatic than a cloud of cigarette smoke? This is called “fitting in” in today's society. Bonding over flavored water vapor that disappears instantly into the air has caused a large controversy. Vapes are electronic cigarettes used by ages starting as early as middle school and all the way up to adults.

People who want to quit smoking cigarettes lean towards these devices to fix their habits however, they are just putting another bad habit into their hands. One of the most popular vaping devices that are used by teenagers today is the Juul. According to Matthews (2019) and Brabraw (2019), “Juuls are a type of vaporizer or e-cigarette, designed so discreetly that most people don't even recognize them as an e-cig. Juul devices (and other vaporizers) work by heating up a cartridge that contains oils and make a vapor that can be inhaled.” Teenagers are attracted to these devices because of the flavors that can be bought. Some of these include mango, watermelon, tobacco, grape, fruit medley, and even cucumber. Not only do the flavors appeal to teenagers, but the Juul itself does too because of the nicotine that is making it addictive. Governor Gina Raimondo has initiated a four-month ban on flavored e-cigarettes in the hopes to find more research about the dangers and eventually come to a conclusion.

Vapes should not be allowed to be purchased by teenagers. The age to start buying nicotine products in Rhode Island is 18. I find this incredibly ridiculous, seeing that nicotine is extremely addictive. Why are we letting teenagers start smoking so young and then develop health issues before they even start to get old? Another huge issue is that even middle school kids are getting access to these devices through older kids and immediately become addicted. Something needs to be done.

Gina Raimondo is making a good decision by imposing a ban on the flavored e-cigarettes – because this is what teenagers are drawn to – to find out the dangers of these devices. Many people, especially college students, are concerned about this ban because there will be no pods left in stores to be sold. Pods are what hold the flavored nicotine that is placed into the top of a Juul. Without the pod, there is no Juul. The flavors are what most people purchase and are addicted to. This ban will serve a lot of controversy and should be very interesting.

I am eager to find out all of the health and warning signs that will be said after this ban. All we know right now about these vaping devices is that they do cause a threat to brain development and respiratory health. Governor Raimondo is doing the right thing by pausing and taking action about this issue that is affecting millions of people.

In conclusion, Governor Raimondo is doing the right thing. There needs to be more research about this debatable topic before any large decision is made. Health issues are not something to take lightly and something needs to be done about this. There are lots of other problems and controversy that is taking place right now in our country, such as gun control and climate change, and those topics need to be addressed just as much as this one. I agree that her decision to impose this ban will be effective but other issues need to have action as well.

Megan Kenneally is a student at the University of Rhode Island.

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