As a college student, the most common time passing habit I see is not staring at phones, it's vaping. Even though most universities have banned vaping on campus, that doesn't mean students stop doing it. It's second nature, they most likely have been doing it since they were sixteen or even younger. It's like scrolling through your timeline in an elevator, you don't really think twice about it. It's popular to do, it's common to see and it's everywhere. Check out your favorite influencers, they're doing tricks with the smoke and hitting their vape pens in the middle of a live stream. Celebrities talk about vaping in interviews. It's cool, it's trendy and it's just water vapor, right?
According to the CDC, there have been 805 people reported who have illnesses caused by vaping. From those people, 12 have died across 10 states. Numbers are still actively being reported as these illnesses have been increasing in diagnosis daily. By the time you finish reading this article, the stats above will have most likely increased.
But still, everywhere I go I see my peers with vape pens pressed to lips, blowing out fruity flavored smoke as if it is still as unharmful as we think it is. It's not going to happen to me, right? I'm not going to sick. It's probably fine.
While some media outlets and outspoken millennials have preached about this epidemic, but nothing has seemed to change the pattern of the normality in vaping within our society.
Many argue we don't have all the facts, and the CDC is not denying that. There is not an exact answer to what about vaping and e-cigarettes may contain that is causing all of these illnesses. What we do know is lung-related illnesses connecting to vaping is happening to young adults across the country, but still, nobody is choosing to stop.
If you do a quick Twitter search with the keyword vaping, you'll see the high intensity of opinions that could even make you question what you believe no matter which side you are on. Words such as "propaganda" and "conspiracy theory" being thrown around, some people asking for prayers for their loved ones who are critically ill, while others tell stories about how switching to vaping has never made them feel better.
With flu season just around the corner, public health officials worry for those who vape and for practitioners take time to properly diagnose the flu verse a vaping related illness. That combination of the flu and this vaping-related illness outbreak brings a particular concern to many because the seasonal flu could exacerbate the symptoms of vaping-related illness. Those who already have compromised lungs or immune systems may become extremely ill if infected with the flu as well.
If you are an active vaper, I encourage you to do your research, to consider if this lifestyle choice is worth the risk. Read both sides of the story and make a decision that will best benefit your life today and your quality of life tomorrow.
If are an active vaper and you currently have any of the following symptoms, consult with your doctor as you may be at risk for a vaping-related illness: