OPINION: Banning Vaping is Not a Solution

By: Rian Cameron
OwlFeed Opinion Editor

Vaping is a disgusting and addictive habit that now plagues teenagers across the US at alarming rates. However, to ban vaping is to undermine a standard of freedom in America that was set in the 1820s when the Temperance Movement failed to remove alcohol from this country. 

The Temperance Movement proved the merciless cycle of how government intervention in the public’s personal lives will only be met with persistent resistance until the change is reversed. In the 1820s, women spearheaded the effort to eliminate alcohol from America because it was a clear trend for men to hit the pubs instead of return home to their wives and children after work. 

But not even an amendment could prevent people from smuggling in and continuing to consume alcohol. 

This is precisely what would happen if we attempted to make vapes illegal. The only major distinction between the two well-intentioned movements would be that the repercussions of a  vape ban would prove much more significant.

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Teenagers would suffer more from a vape ban than vaping under the current conditions in the US. Because users are already hooked on the product, removing it from their hands would result in tragic unintended consequences. 

What scares people (and parents) the most about vaping is the death toll that has been recently publicized. The cause of these deaths is not vaping itself, but illegal use of vapes. The casualties came about as teenagers looked to the black market for marijuana. Contaminated THC cartridges killed these teens and young adults. 

The Washington Post reports that when 86 people in Illinois and Wisconsin hospitalized for illness related to vaping were investigated, most confessed to using illegal prefilled THC cartridges. 

If we were to ban vaping, where would all the addicted users turn to rather than quit cold turkey? The black market and cigarettes. 

Instead of educating people on the dangers of vaping and regulating the sale of vapes, some people want to have it be wholly extracted from the hands of the vulnerable, addicted youth. This is not a solution, it is fear manifested in an empty political endeavor.

Vape manufacturers have been accused of targeting children with enticing flavors such as strawberry banana, blue raspberry, and even buttered popcorn. It doesn’t help that they also falsely advertise it as a safe alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. This corrupt marketing tactic is nothing new. 

In the 1960s, smoking cigarettes was extremely popular, and as people began to realize their negative side effects, “filtered” cigarettes were introduced as a healthier way to go about satiating your nicotine addiction. These proved to be just as detrimental as the originals. To unveil the distorted public image of smoking, informative advertisements against cigarettes were put out in the media.

According to AACR Publications, four cigarette advertisements would run for every one anti-smoking ad. Even so, smoking rates went down at an incredible rate. 

The swindling efforts to hook teenagers on e-cigarettes can be similarly combated by anti-vaping ads which are already quite prevalent around school campuses and on social media. 

Banning vapes would not end the youth vaping epidemic, it would only shift focus to more dangerous means of obtaining drugs. Rather, we need to edify ourselves and our communities to end the problem before it begins.