You hear a ton about vaping nowadays. You see ads for it online and on your TV, assuming you still have cable. You see it in all kinds of stores, including the convenience store that’s just around the block from your house. Friends who used to smoke are now throwing around terms like “e-liquid” and “e-juice” instead. They talk about going to a vape sale and walk around at parties holding a small metallic stick that they use to smoke. If you aren’t familiar with the world of vaping, it can all seem strange. That’s a fairly normal reaction. But before you write it off, do a little research into the problem it’s trying to address.
America’s tobacco addiction
America has long had a problem with the glamorization of tobacco. At one point not that long ago, you even saw nightly television programs sponsored by various tobacco companies. The idea was to encourage people to smoke to feel cool or sophisticated. The problem is, lung cancer is decidedly not cool or sophisticated. In fact, it’s the leading cause of cancer deaths in America. The American Cancer Society says it’s also the second most common type of cancer in men and women, although they exclude skin cancer from that statement. Ignorance is no longer an excuse for people to light up. We know more than we’ve ever known about just how harmful smoking is. Secondhand smoke is also dangerous, and there’s even talk about the dangers of something called thirdhand smoke, which is harmful chemical residue left on surfaces long after the person smoking has left the building.
Smoking is now more and more restricted across the country. There’s no such thing as smoking in the office anymore, unless you work outside at a construction site or something. Some bars now ban smoking, and even casinos have flirted with smoke-free gambling rooms for people who get sick from smoke or just hate the smell of it. This is all good from a public health standpoint, but it tends to make smokers feel attacked, like everyone is picking on them because it’s trendy now. We should give sympathy to people who smoke. It’s an incredibly addictive habit. People who try quitting often have to make several attempts before it sticks.
That’s where electronic cigarettes have proven to be incredibly helpful for some people. Yes, there are e-liquids available with nicotine, but not all of them include it, and some former smokers find they can start using nicotine and gradually move on to e-liquids that don’t include the substance. They find the ritual of using an e-cigarette and exhaling vapor to be soothing. Available evidence indicates that vaping isn’t as harmful to your health as puffing on a cigarette. More research is needed, but one study from 2017 indicated that tobacco users who start vaping may live longer than people who just keep on smoking. It can be an incredibly useful alternative for those who need some sort of bridge between smoking cigarettes and smoking nothing at all.