By YES! Youth Staff: Jordan Rasheed
E-cigarettes have the possibility to have a detrimental effect on society for many years to come. The marketing behinds E-cigarettes has created an environment to allow its growth to sneakily creep on unassuming demographics. Originally, hailed as a ‘safer’ alternative to smoking this has not only led to the growth of the electronic cigarette industry, but for many citizens to turn a blind eye to its predatory marketing tactics.
There are many misconceptions about electronic cigarettes also known as E-cigs. One of the many false facts about e-cigs are that they are not harmful. Unfortunately, this belief mostly affects youth. One of the reasons e-cigarettes so greatly affect youth is due to several different components: E-cigarettes are sold in “tasty” candy flavoring, as well as the marketing being targeted toward youth with $125 million being spent on e-cig marketing in 2014 to make the e-cigs seem appealing. A study showed that the use of e-cigs is higher among youth than adults, more than three million middle and high school students smoke e-cigs regularly. E-cigs are also easier to obtain than traditional tobacco products because they can easily be purchase online.
The candy flavoring and easy access makes it seem that these e-cigarettes are safe when in fact they are filled with the same addictive ingredients and with the same addictive potential as normal tobacco products, they include ingredients like heavy metals, ultrafine particles as well as chemicals that can lead to lung cancer. E-cigarettes are just as bad as regular cigarettes and tobacco products they need to be seen as what they really are dangerous and harmful tobacco products that are aimed at our youth.
As part of the first generation of youth to grow up with technology at our fingertips it has now expanded to harmful products as well. E-cigarettes should be looked at for what they are, a replay by tobacco companies to regain markets that are experiencing loss. The E-cigarettes are safe campaign, eerily echoes the campaigns of the 50s and 60s. It is not just in poor form by the companies, but it is also puts countless LIVES at risk.
The increasing use of e-cigarettes are slowly creeping into the everyday life of youth, exposing them to dangers we thought would only be available in their traditional form. We need to spread the word and be a constant reminder that e-cigarettes are just as dangerous as traditional tobacco products, e-cigarettes can be a silent killer they look and smell harmless but they are anything but. The Surgeon General just released an important report on the dangers of e-cigarettes: watch the report here.
The Consortium and the Public Health Tobacco Policy Center at Northeastern University has put together a snapshot of the US landscape of e-cigarette
regulation. To see the current e-cigarette regulation in your state, click here.
Youth Empowered Solutions has been engaged in tobacco prevention efforts since 2001, and was integral in creating policies in North Carolina that prevent teen tobacco use and create healthier environments for young people across the state. In the early days, youth teams focused efforts on direct advocacy in their communities, working to convince legislators to support and enforce smoke free schools, convincing business owners to implement smoke free restaurants, and educating communities about the dangers of tobacco use and second-hand smoke. Currently, we are working on restoring funding in North Carolina for tobacco use prevention and cessation, supporting the 500 foot buffer zone, and raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco and e-cigarette products to 21 (Tobacco21).