By Taylor Bynion
Inhaling a thick puff of white vapor, senior nursing student Emily Pepin vapes for the last time. After previously smoking cigarettes, Pepin decides to quit smoking of any kind. With encouragement from a professor and the knowledge of recent cases of vaping related deaths, Pepin relinquishes her vape pen on the first day of class.
According to Yale Medicine, “To vape is to inhale vapor created from a liquid heated up inside a device.” While a vape pen produces these vapors as a type of E-cigarette, “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised people to avoid e-cigarettes while federal and state officials investigate a nationwide outbreak of severe respiratory illnesses associated with the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products.”
Despite vaping “marketed as an aid to help you quit smoking, e-cigarettes have not received Food and Drug Administration approval as smoking cessation devices,” according to Hopkins Medicine. In addition to a lack of FDA approval, vaping also contains nicotine, “the primary agent in both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and it is highly addictive.”
With its highly addictive quality, vaping grew in popularity among youth, making it “more popular than any traditional tobacco product,” according to Hopkins. However, “There are many unknowns about vaping, including what chemicals make up the vapor and how they affect physical health over the long term.”
In regards to this uncertainty, several news reports have been published detailing vaping’s negative impact on lungs, proving fatal in seven cases. According to the Washington Post, there have been “a rash of mysterious vaping-linked illnesses that have put healthy people in the hospital with serious lung diseases,” with authorities announcing “a seventh death connected to e-cigarettes.”
Despite recently deciding to kick the habit, Pepin previously turned to vape instead of smoking cigarettes. After hearing about individuals becoming ill from vaping and pursuing a career as a nurse, Pepin decided to quit. “Inhaling any substance is unnatural and we do not know the effects of vaping on the human body just yet, unlike cigarettes. This is why many states are increasing the law to buy nicotine products to 21 and also passing laws and regulations regarding the vape juice,” she said.
Heading concerns like Pepin’s, Maryland’s Montgomery County recently enacted new legislation that prohibits the selling and manufacturing of e-cigarettes within a half-mile distance of any middle or high school. Another article in the Washington Post reports that this zoning amendment, while affecting 19 of 22 vape shops in the county, attempts “to address underage vaping.”
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