A recent fire alarm in my Bischoff Hall dormitory on Oct. 8 was set off due to a vape/electronic cigarette that was being used inside of the residence hall. Although Ramapo’s website and college policies explicitly state that smoking is prohibited in all academic and resident buildings, I was disrupted from my daily activities due to the negligence of one of my peers. This event reminded me that there is a skyrocketing popularity for smoking, and now vaping, which is a very unfortunate result of the current smoking trend amongst teenagers and college students due to the increased advertisement of e-cigarettes in television and magazines.
Teenagers are disproportionately more likely to be convinced to vape by enticing advertisements that directly target this demographic. They are also most vulnerable and susceptible to social trends and the pressure that comes from them, stastistics show. Although everyone makes their own decisions to vape, young people should be warned that there is no overall, definite consensus from experts that smoking e-cigarettes is healthier than smoking actual cigarettes.
Manufacturers are using the very fact that there is no overall expert opinion that vaping is unhealthier than smoking traditional cigarettes to encourage vaping. Although, Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, feels that it is unfair to exclude the fact that there is a “dramatic fall in teen smoking” when discussing e-cigarettes.
According to CBS News, the number of students in high school who smoke e-cigarettes tripled to more than 13 percent, while the percentage of those smoking traditional cigarettes plunged to 9.2 percent from over 13 percent. However, vaping should not be thanked for the drop in number of smokers because the former traditional cigarette smokers are just being lured into another unhealthy fad.
“E-cigarette vapor can actually contain toxic chemicals including formaldehyde, which is linked to cancer,” according to CBS News.
Many people tend to justify smoking one type of cigarette over another, but the reality is that the effects of smoking both regular and e/vapor cigarettes are the same. Therefore, smoking in its entirety is equally harmful on the human body.
Debra Lukacsko, associate director of Health Services on campus, was interviewed via email for accurate information and advice regarding the effects of smoking. She reminded everyone that smoking brings in a toxic substance to the human body and may cause systematic physiological changes to the entire body.
“The average cigarette has more than 7,000 different chemicals and nicotine in it and all are harmful to the human body,” said Lukacsko.
If there is a difference between smoking the two types of cigarettes, besides the formation, it is that electronic/vapor cigarettes do not contain tobacco, according to Lukacsko. However, tobacco is only one of the many substances that are known to cause cancer and electronic/vapor cigarettes contain more harmful chemicals, making it more toxic to the human body than actual cigarettes.
Despite the social pressures that high school and college students are presented with in their developing age, I would encourage individuals to avoid getting into the habit of smoking to begin with. The harm that is caused to the body such as a shortened lifespan, diminishing lung capacity and yellowing of the teeth, among other things, are simply not worth giving in to peer pressure.
Lukackso also mentions that the only people who profit from cigarette smoking are the corporations who manufacture the cigarettes and vapor/e-cigarettes.
It is up for individuals to make the decision to vape, but if anything is clear, it is that there is no overall consensus on whether vaping is healthier than smoking traditional cigarettes, so I hope that people at the least know it is not the “healthier alternative.” Victims of social trends instigated by advertisements should be rescued.
Photo used courtesy of ecigclick.co.uk