Vaping: The new health menace

by Divya Rawat

Vaping! What is vaping? Vaping is an e-cigarette, battery-operated devices that have a similar feeling to cigarettes or even cigars. Vaping at the start was an alternative to smoking and often taken up by people who wanted to quit smoking but now is a well-established industry in itself.

Vaping, through attractive design of vaping devices and multiple chemical substances and flavours, has been able to attract youth and new customers.  

There are four reasons why e-cigarettes are particularly appealing:

  • Young people or teenagers believe that vaping is less harmful than smoking.
  • There is much more variety than in cigarettes; there is variety in flavours (mint, bubblegum, fruity); variety of substances (nicotine, marijuana, oil and other drugs); and variety in device shapes, size and colours
  • Lower per-use cost or costs less than traditional cigarettes and cigars.
  • E-cigarettes, with no smell and less smoke, reduce the stigma of smoking in general
Cool design is a key part of the vaping pitch. Photo: Vaporesso/Unsplash

Vaping is very similar to cigarette smoking, both are inhaled and both target and damage the lungs ultimately.

The health risks of vaping addiction are worse than cigarettes as the use is not limited to nicotine only, but includes marijuana and a variety of other chemicals and flavours. Due to use of these chemicals, vaping addicts often suffer from anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and lung damage, including chronic bronchitis and cancer.

Variety and easy access to the product is another pillar of industry strategy. Photo: E-Liquids UK/Unsplash

Vaping is definitely the new health menace and the Lung Foundation Australia has advised the Federal government to launch the National Tobacco Strategy in 2022 with a better focus on addressing the rising health concerns of e-cigarettes.

Similar concerns and appeals have also been made by Anita Dessaix, the Cancer Council’s Public Health Committee chair,  “to put an end to the misinformation being spread by people trying to make money from e-cigarettes”.

Now, the ball is in government’s court to act and take steps to protect Australia’s young from the lifelong health effects of e-cigarettes, lung disease in particular, and contributing or making worsening symptoms of other diseases.

It is, also, about time for the truth to come out about the dangers of cigarette addiction. As a minimum the government must begin with advertisements informing the public and youth in particular of the harm caused by vaping.

Feature image: Vaping has been marketed as the cool alternative to smoking. Photo: Ruben Bagues/Unsplash

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