News

Outbreak of lung illnesses associated with vaping

The outbreak of lung-related illnesses and fatalities in the United States has drawn national attention to the issue of vaping.
As of Nov. 13, there have been 42 confirmed deaths and at least 2,172 people hospitalized for symptoms with supposed
vape-related causes across the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control has identified that these incidents possess links to a specific kind of thickening
ingredient called vitamin E acetate found in THC-containing vaping products.
However, the CDC said they cannot yet identify the specific cause or causes of the lung injuries, and, as they continue
to investigate, they recommend refraining from all e-cigarette and vaping products.
The public outcry around these incidents has led to legislation passed surrounding the sale and use of e-cigarettes. This
includes moves from the Trump administration to ban flavored e-cigarettes to combat what U.S. health officials have
labeled an “epidemic,” specifically for the nation’s youth. That ban has not been enacted.
The state of California is suing Juul, one of the predominate distributers of vape products, for allegedly targeting minors
following a similar suit in North Carolina.
Juul maintains that their intended customers are adult smokers and they do not intend to attract underaged users.
The company’s mission statement states that they intend to “improve the lives of one billion adult smokers by eliminating
cigarettes.” Juul “envision[s] a world where fewer adults use cigarettes and where adults who smoke cigarettes have the
tools to reduce or eliminate their consumption entirely, should they so desire.”
Despite Juul’s mission, the CDC has blamed vaping distributors like Juul for single-handedly escalating the tobacco use
among teens. Its size and specific design attract young consumers so much so that it is often called the iPhone of e-
cigarettes.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “Nearly 2 in 5 students in 12th grade report past-year vaping,” and of the
more than 44,000 students who took part in the survey, “about 37% of 12th graders reported vaping in 2018, compared
with 28% in 2017.”
This significant rise suggests an increase in young adults and teens vaping, a statistic that will continue to rise if the
current trends continue.
Many states, including Arkansas, have raised the age for purchasing tobacco and vaping products to 21 in an effort to
curb this rise in youth nicotine addiction.
In September of this year, Arkansas passed new regulations for e-cigarettes. It states that the possession, use and
purchase of vapor products and e-liquids of persons under 21 is illegal and can lead to criminal charges.
“People think it’s healthier than cigarettes, and it’s been advertised as such. It looks cleaner and sleek, and it often
smells nice, cloaking its dangerous nature,” Alexandra Lafon, junior international business major, said. “It’s so convenient.
It’s easy to use, discreet and incredibly addicting, especially if you already have an established nicotine addiction.”
Freshman worship arts major, Jacob Ritz said he knows a lot of people who vape. “Commercials make it look harmless.
It’s like they’re saying, ‘It’s addictive but it’s fine,’” Ritz said.
E-cigarette companies initially advertised vaping as a way to help people wean themselves off of cigarettes and
eventually quit smoking, but as the recreational use increased, the message quickly shifted to accommodate the new
market. The convenience of vapor products and the belief that it isn’t as bad as smoking regular cigarettes contributes to
record high sales and widespread usage.