Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Lindsay Fox / EcigaretteReviewed.com
Vaping, which involves inhaling and exhaling vapour composed of fine particles produced by e-cigarettes, was introduced in the mid-2000s as a safer alternative to smoking. However, while not as dangerous, there are still some potential risks to using it. The vapour produced by e-cigarettes contains some harmful elements such as nicotine, as well as THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), a chemical found in marijuana that induces the sensation of being high.
One of the growing concerns regarding vaping is the rising number of e-cigarette use among youths. Even though it’s been over a decade since the invention of the first modern e-cigarette, the long-term health risks of vaping remain a mystery. However, it is well-known that vaping is especially harmful to adolescents. In addition to affecting their brain development, adolescents who vape are at risk of developing addictive behaviours and are more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future. Unfortunately, despite these risks, the number of youths that practice vaping continues to rise. For example, in the past year, the number of Ottawa high school students that were caught vaping is almost three timesthe number from the previous year.
It also does not help that the rise of e-cigarette use among adolescents is coinciding with a dangerous epidemic spreading across the United States. As of September 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 350 confirmed cases of people suffering from respiratory illnesses across 36 states. Since the beginning of September seven people have died as a result. While these cases have been linked to e-cigarette use, the exact cause of the illness is still being investigated. Since late August, the centres have been coordinating with state health officials, as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to gather more information, as well as determine what substances were used.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, formerly FDA commissioner, states in an article from the New York Times that he suspects that those suffering from this epidemic may have consumed illegal products. “It’s probably something new that has been introduced into the market by an illegal manufacturer, either a new flavor or a new way to emulsify THC that is causing these injuries”, he said.
In response to this epidemic, the Trump administration is pushing to enact a new policy that would remove flavoured e-cigarette products from the market. Furthermore, while this outbreak has yet to reach Canada, some places, like British Columbia, are already promising to take swift action to crack down on vaping among their youth.
In light of this epidemic, it is now more important than ever to renew our efforts in not only researching the health risks of e-cigarette use, but also to protect and educate our youth about the dangers of vaping.
“Transcript of August 23, 2019, Telebriefing on Severe Pulmonary Disease Associated with Use of E-cigarettes”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/t0823-telebriefing-severe-pulmonary-disease-e-cigarettes.html
“Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/Quick-Facts-on-the-Risks-of-E-cigarettes-for-Kids-Teens-and-Young-Adults.html
Ben Miljure (Sept. 13 2019). “B.C. considering crackdown on vaping amid rise in U.S. hospitalizations”. CTV News. https://bc.ctvnews.ca/b-c-considering-crackdown-on-vaping-amid-rise-in-u-s-hospitalizations-1.4592948
Blair Crawford (Sept. 13 2019). “For high school students, vaping — like cigarettes — is a hard habit to break”. Ottawa Citizen. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/for-high-school-students-vaping-like-cigarettes-is-a-hard-habit-to-break
Christina Matthews (updated Apr. 5 2019). “Vaping – A Journey Through its History”. Vaping Daily. https://vapingdaily.com/what-is-vaping/vaping-history/
Jacqueline Haward (Sept. 13 2019). “CDC's case count of vaping-related lung illnesses went down, but not for reasons you might think”. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/13/health/lung-disease-vaping-cdc-new-numbers-bn/index.html
Julie Mazziotta (Sept. 17 2019). “A 7th Person Has Died of Vaping-Related Lung Illness as CDC Reduces Investigation to 380 Cases”. People. https://people.com/health/a-7th-person-has-died-of-vaping-related-lung-illness-as-cdc-reduces-investigation-to-380-cases/
Linda Richter (October 2018). “RECREATIONAL VAPING 101: What is Vaping?”. Expert Views On E-Cigarettes. https://www.centeronaddiction.org/e-cigarettes/recreational-vaping/what-vaping
Marnie Willman (Sept. 14 2019). “The rise of a mysterious lung illness begins to expose the dangers of vaping”. Massive Science. https://massivesci.com/notes/vaping-mysterious-illness-lung-disease-canada-united-states/
Matthew Lavietes (Sept. 11 2019). “‘It is time to stop vaping’: 6th U.S. death linked to vaping-related illness”. Global News. https://globalnews.ca/news/5887815/us-vaping-death-kansas/
Maegan Vazquez and Betsy Klein (Sept. 11 2019). “Trump administration moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes”. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/11/politics/donald-trump-vape-e-cigarette-flavors/index.html
Rachel D’Amore (Sept. 13 2019). “Trump calls for ban on flavoured e-cigarettes — what is Canada’s stance on vaping?”. Global News. https://globalnews.ca/news/5899815/vaping-ban-canada-election/
Shiela Kaplan & Matt Richtel (Sept. 11 2019). “The Mysterious Vaping Illness That’s ‘Becoming an Epidemic’”. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/31/health/vaping-marijuana-ecigarettes-sickness.html
By Matthew Guida
As a native Montrealer, I graduated from Concordia University with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in Film Studies. I am currently studying for my master’s degree in Journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa.
My interest in journalism began while attending Concordia. I was a frequent contributor to the university’s independent newspaper, The Concordian. I further honed my skills and experience by working as a List Writer for the entertainment news website Screen Rant.
Since I started attending Carleton University, I have strived to further improve my skills as a journalist in not only print, but also in the fields of data, investigative and broadcast journalism. In the past year, I have also developed a growing appreciation for radio journalism and podcasts.
My current interests lie in studying the future of the journalism industry, writing and researching pop culture and social media trends, as well as furthering my career in the field of journalism.