Even still, the nicotine trend has come back in full force in a new form, vaping and e-cigarettes.
Although vaping has been marketed as a healthy way to quit smoking, Bismarck Cancer Center survivorship nurse Corina Larson visited the Peacock Mercantile this week to teach Hettinger youth and adults that using the word “healthy” does not accurately describe vaping.
Larson explained vaping does come with health risks and addiction.
For those who do not know, vaping is a way of inhaling nicotine through electronic nicotine delivery systems, otherwise known as ENDS. ENDS are devices that vaporize nicotine infused liquid into an inhalable aerosol.
Only recently did the FDA list END devices as tobacco products, and Larson explained that historically a lot of those devices have been marketed in ways that appealed to kids.
“A lot of vaping companies like JUUL use marketing techniques that remind me of the old tobacco companies,” she said. “Vaping companies make nicotine use seem fresh, new, and exciting.”
In addition to questionable marketing techniques, vaping companies make flavors that appeal to young adults. Flavors like gummy bear and popcorn make the habit seem more appealing.
Although vaping is marketed as healthy alternative to smoking, Larson explained that it’s important to know the truth behind vaping.
Vaping is listed as a tobacco product because the addictive drug nicotine is derived from the tobacco plant and concentrated into the vape juice.
Certain vaping juices have also lead to incurable lung issues like coughing, lung scarring, and wheezing.
“Vaping can expose users to five harmful chemicals,” she continued. “You can find Aluminum, Cadmium, Silver, Diacetyl, and even lead in these products.”
Larson said that, so far, research into END devices is limited. Ultimately the consequences of vaping are unknown and more research is needed.
“Vaping products are derived from the tobacco plants, and all forms of tobacco use are harmful,” she said. “Tobacco is inherently toxic, especially for kids.”
Both adults and youth from the community attended the event. During the question portion of the presentation, Larson asked the kids attending the event if they had seen vaping at the local school.
Although none had seen it physically done inside the school, many kids said they knew that some students vaped in their cars.
“It’s easy to hide,” said Larson. “Many of the END devices look like USB drives and are small and concealable.”
Ultimately, Larson said awareness is key.
“Understanding these devices and how they can potentially affect people is important,” she explained. “These are devices that we want to keep out of our schools and we need to inform our kids about the issues.”