Vaping provides alternative to traditional smoking

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Vaping provides alternative to traditional smoking

Davida Marthenze, Staff Reporter

Human beings are always smoking something. It’s been this way for centuries. Whether it’s for some kind of buzz, or a fashion statement or simply “because the cool kids are doing it,” there are a million and one reasons to do it. From your grandfather’s cigar club to the aloof, cigarette-puffing young adults to the eccentric professor with a pipe collection, smoking is a hobby and, in the majority of cases, an addiction.

After decades of anti-smoking campaigns and bans on smoking in public places, this hobby was forced to surrender to limitations, and for good reason, as evidenced by the indisputable links between smoking and illnesses like cancer. Regardless, the industry still managed to unveil the “next big thing,” which is electronic cigarettes (e-cigs).

The e-cig as we know it today was conceived by the Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik as an alternative to traditional cigarettes. In 2007, e-cigs finally hit the market.

In the eight years since, e-cigs have evolved into something of a hot commodity, with cheap refillable varieties available anywhere from the Internet to most gas stations for anyone over the age of 18. They are often used by cigarette smokers as a means of weaning themselves off their nicotine dependencies. Nonsmokers are also known to vape (the term currently used to refer to the practice of using e-cigs) for other reasons, which includes for a nicotine buzz or to look cool.

Personally, I began smoking cigarettes out of teenage stupidity and have since reduced this indulgence to a way of managing my driving anxiety. I smoke a maximum of two cigarettes a day, five days a week, but I also vape as a social activity or to relax before bed. I’m also a sucker for the sleek sci-fi appearance of e-cigarettes. Ideally, my smoking habit will be replaced by vaping altogether.

Thus far, there has been no research explicitly confirming that vaping is safer than smoking. The Food and Drug Association has yet to clear it. But we do know that the most harmful thing about traditional cigarettes, aside from the nicotine addiction and smoke inhalation itself, is all of the junk the tobacco companies put in them.

With vaping, there are higher-end models of e-cigs that allow the user to customize and fill them with self-made juices of various flavors, as well as to adjust the nicotine potency. This gives the user control over what they put in their body, which can reduce the likelihood of self-endangerment by simple ignorance. Additionally, the emission of vapor as opposed to smoke minimizes the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Smoking is undeniably bad, but whether you’re looking to start or struggling to quit, vaping is an option if you’re willing to deal with the fact that no one really knows yet how dangerous it may or may not be. I think that once the risks are determined and hopefully dealt with, vaping has a bright future as a replacement for traditional smoking.

According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, one-third of college students are smokers in some capacity. If some of those students, including those of us at Lakeland, consider switching to vapor, maybe we can get that number to go up in smoke.

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