“I liked the buzz and relaxed feeling [that comes from] a cigarette… It slowly became a part of my daily routine. I tried quitting, but it was as if I needed it like I needed food.”
Many can probably relate to this source when it comes to being hooked on cigarettes. Over the last decades, smoking cigarettes has become exposed to younger and younger generations; more and more people. In recent years, the question has been whether e-cigarettes and vaporizers (also known as “vapes”) actually help people stay away from cigarettes, or are just stepping stones into becoming hooked on tobacco and nicotine in the future.
Although the legal age to purchase cigarettes is 18, it is no secret that many teens easily get their hands on them earlier. As far as e-cigarettes and vapes go, an employee of a local vape shop had this to say, “There is no universal law… that an individual has to be 18 years or older to purchase vape products. It is a self-imposed rule of many vape shops…to be in the better light of their communities.”
He continued, “I believe it should be kept at 18 because if you can enlist for the military and possibly die in war at 18, then you should be able to make a lifestyle choice to use or not to use vape products at 18.”
According to Adam Leventhal, an addiction scientist at the University of Southern California, in an article on societyforscience.org teens that start vaping early on are three times more likely to start smoking or using tobacco products within the same year they begin to use e-cigarettes or vapes.
Smoking cigarettes remains the leading cause of preventable death. As reported by CDC, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking.” Of course cigarettes will not just go away. But if that number is to lessen, it would be smart to figure out the reasons people turn to smoking in the first place.
A source from our very own Jefferson High School offers his opinion, “Kids are exposed to it early on so they don’t look at it as such a taboo. In society smoking is glamorized and is a fashion statement… [As for me] smoking makes me feel good, it’s the hardest thing to kick, it is an addiction and a coping mechanism.”
However, there are some that really support the use of vaporizers. A twenty-one year old, who was addicted to smoking cigarettes for about two years, claims to have lost the taste of his food and saw a noticeable decline in his stamina. After picking up his first vape in an attempt to quit smoking cigarettes, he states, “In a matter of weeks I went from smoking 3 packs a week, to none. I was able to taste food, my hands and clothes didn’t stink, and I was able to walk into my house not worrying about getting caught [with] cigarettes. I gained my stamina back and I didn’t feel nauseous from vaping.” He no longer “needed it like [he] needed food.”
When asked what advice he would give to teens regarding cigarettes and tobacco, our source said, “I would advise everyone who smokes to quit, no matter what age.” This would be the smart thing to do.