Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Curbing vaping will be uphill battle

With dangers of vaping increasingly clear, the states and federal government need to get more aggressive at curbing e-cigarettes.

woman vaping
REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
The following is an editorial by The Mankato Free Press.

The more e-cigarettes grow in popularity and the more they are studied, the more concern arises over their health effects.

While much still needs to be learned about vaping, it’s clear teen vaping is a dangerous practice that is likely to create more addicted people, more cigarette smokers and more illness.

Juul Labs has peddled its e-cigarettes with the same skill big tobacco used to hook youth and create a base of lifetime users.

Article continues after advertisement

The nicotine taken in with vaping is addictive, and when used in adolescence or young adulthood creates impacts on brain development.

The liquid in e-cigarettes is marketed in a variety of candy flavors clearly aimed at getting kids, unaware of the dangers, to begin using what they often believe is a harmless product.

The Minnesota Department of Health’s most recent survey from 2018 reports 1 in 5 high school students use e-cigarettes — a nearly 50 percent increase since 2014.

While backers of vaping say it is a way cigarette smokers can switch to a less dangerous habit, health officials say e-cigarette use increases the likelihood of smoking cigarettes among young people.

Now comes disturbing news that shows a potential link between vaping and pulmonary disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 150 cases of possible vaping-linked lung disease. One person who vaped and developed pulmonary disease has died.

It’s too early to know exactly if vaping is the primary cause of the mystery lung diseases, but the CDC is alarmed enough to begin a full investigation into it.

While public awareness over the dangers of vaping is growing, it is a problem that has spread so rapidly and has created such immense financial gain for Juul that slowing its growth will be daunting.

States and the federal government need to step up their efforts.

Article continues after advertisement

San Francisco, where Juul Labs is based, became the first city to ban all sales of electronic cigarettes in the city.

Eighteen states have passed laws banning the sale of tobacco, although not all include e-cigarettes.

It’s long past time the Minnesota Legislature raise the state’s age for buying tobacco and e-cigarettes to 21. So far, 29 cities and four counties in Minnesota have raised the legal buying age for tobacco to 21, but state lawmakers have failed to act.

It’s also time for a federal ban on TV advertising for e-cigarettes. While cigarette advertising has been banned on TV for nearly 50 years, vaping isn’t addressed in the law.

While going up against vaping will be an uphill battle, it isn’t one that should be abandoned.

For decades society failed to challenge big tobacco companies and generations of people were were addicted.

The same shouldn’t happen with e-cigarettes.

Republished with permission.


If you’re interested in joining the discussion, add your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a letter or a longer-form Community Voices commentary. (For more information about Community Voices, see our Submission Guidelines.)