Apparently high school students, the New York Times euphemism for “teens”, are ramping up their vape use extensively. According to this story, adolescent use of vaporizers has tripled in the last three years. The big problem? Because, of course, there’s always a “big problem,” if we’re reading in the NYT about something youth are doing we often find — for lack of any other good scary things — a deep concern about brain development and a report from the Center for Disease Control sits as the focal center of the story. Literally, right in the middle.
From the article, the citation of the CDC’s warning, is expressed by the New York Times as follows:
They warned that e-cigarettes were undoing years of progress among the country’s most vulnerable citizens by making the act of puffing on a tobacco product normal again, and by introducing nicotine, an addictive substance, to a broad population of teenagers.
They also mention a quote from an angry doctor, who, like the article itself, seems to be irritated with the “normal” use of a nicotine product. Indeed, traditional tobacco use among teens has plummeted during this time (from 16% to 9%), but this isn’t actually “good enough.” As soon as one problem goes away, the problem of vaping has redoubled itself magically in the concerned, paternalizing media. Although, I certainly don’t (since vapesnoop wouldn’t approve either) condone underage nicotine use, the facts are solid that it’s a common enough issue.
What’s wrong with vaping overall? We’re always told exciting new facts about how brain development continues until a person’s mid-20s, so where will we draw the level and line of concern (responsibility, safety, etc)? In truth, the research is flimsy at best. It is possible there’s an attempt here to curb any sense of freedom, at least that’s what came to mind when I considered the psychology of youth, no matter how much it indicates a safer scenario. Granted, the products are limited to those 18 years or older, so if any concerns about younger kids getting into this stuff is serious it would seem the issue is one of enforcement. Perhaps, of course, we can look to those who need to be truly concerned. Perhaps, and maybe we can ask, the parents of these teens have been more comfortable with the underage vaping vs. underage smoking. Also, again, brain development and nicotine use deserves some attention.