Recent Deaths Underscore Vaping Danger

Nicole Kennedy, Opinion Editor

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“It hasn’t killed anybody yet,” has been the common excuse for many a young vaper.  Unfortunately, these mango-huffing teens will have to start looking for a new comeback.

According to a CNBC article, a 7th person was reported dead on September 17 due to an acute lung disorder associated with vaping devices. 450 more possible cases have been reported nationwide.

These patients all suffered from “lipoid pneumonia, a specific type of pneumonia that occurs when oil enters the lungs,” said the CNBC article. It’s no mystery where this oil comes from. In most cases, patients tested positive for nicotine and/or THC, which is a marijuana-based compound.

The vaping phenomenon is wrecking serious havoc on teen health nation wide. In February 2018, La Puma staff wrote its exposé on the epidemic, revealing the prevalence of vaping and “JUULing” among students on campus.

It is only a matter of time until locals are hospitalized like the other 450 patients. Immediate action is not only ethical, but indisputably mandatory.

There are many stereotypes among today’s teens: technology addicts, social media bingers, sleepless students. Now it appears this generation may be best known for its self-destruction.

Vaping has become much more than a rebellious activity for teens. The Food and Drug Administration “anticipate[s] a 77% increase in e-cigarette use among high school students as compared to 2017.”

The question may no longer be how to stop kids from vaping, but rather how to supply enough hospital beds for them if the FDA’s predictions are accurate.

We’ve known about the risks of vaping for a while now and I think there just has to be a hard line on any of these vaping products available or marketed to young people,” said local pediatrician Dr. Pelen Wu of Summit Pediatrics in Orinda.

These companies specifically target youth with flavored pods like mint, watermelon, and strawberry lemonade, and they utilize social media hashtags to market to younger people, according to a Forbes article published in November 2018.

The appears the goal of marketing vaping products to adolescents is to get them addicted so that they become the drivers of profit for these companies for a lifetime.

It is important now more than ever that laws protect kids from the predatory practices of these corporations.

Of all people, President Trump may be the key to putting a stop to this national health crisis. On September 11, Trump called for a federal ban on mango and cucumber flavored pods, which both contribute tremendously to JUUL’s popularity. The Senate has opened an investigation into the marketing of JUULs to youth, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

If President Trump can understand the need for stricter regulation of this industry, it should be clearly apparent to the rest of us.

E-cigarettes are in no way beneficial to health, especially the health of adolescents.

It is time for the justice department to go after these companies, for parents to intervene with their kids, and for teens themselves to acknowledge the foolishness of partaking in such a dangerous habit.

It’s time to start acting like we have something to lose: our lives.

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