U.S. FDA and Educators Battle the Rise in “Epidemic of Youth Use” of Vapes
Regulations and/or restriction of e-cigarettes varies in countries throughout the globe. While some nations immediately banned e-cigarettes as soon as the World Health Organization (WHO) gave emphasis to its health risks being the same as conventional cigarette smoking.
In the U.S, there is no definitive law that specifically prohibits or regulates smoking e-cigarettes or vaping. Proposals and recommendations if any, work toward the imposition of taxes.
Still, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, by using authority given by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Moreover, the FDA has classified vaping devices and e-liquids as tobacco products, making them subject to regulations, not only in terms of manufacturing but also in labelling, modifying and marketing.
Federal officials though has declared an “epidemic of youth use” with regard to vaping. The number of high school students vaping in schools, at home, and even in public places has reached more than 3 million and is expected to rise continually. Not unless, high school vspe users are made to understand that e-cigarette is just ànother form of taking in nicotine, albeit by way of inhaling flavored-fumes of burned nicotine liquid.
The Lure and Appeal of Vaping to Teenage Youths
In this day and age of technological advancements, young people are easier to impress when it comes to marketing innovative products. WHO calls the vaping devices Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems or ENDS, but ENDs marketers call them the “healthier option” to conventional paper-rolled tobacco in the form of cigars or cigarettes.
Add to the health slogan, cool features such as aromatic flavors, compact size, and packaging that gives an ENDs device the appearance of a flash drive, such elements can easily lure young people prone to experimentations.
Educators and parents whom the FDA expect to be at the forefront of the battle against the rising “epidemic of youth use,” feel they face an uphill battle.
Dealing with Vapers in High School
Although the fight against ENDs use in high schools seem difficult, it is not a losing battle. Even if efforts to provide relevant education that will make kids understand the health risks posed by ENDs use, teenage mind development experts give advice that the way to effectively communicate with young people is to treat them with respect.
Dr. Frances Jensen, author of “The Teenage Brain”, recommends taking a different approach by focusing on providing campaign materials that explain how the human brain works. Developing student interest on what science has revealed about the brain and how it functions, will raise their awareness about the risks of losing these functions to something as avoidable as nicotine addiction.
An evidence-based recommendation is the strategy used by the Libertyville school district, which resorted to counseling and educating vaping offenders about the risks they face, instead of punishing them with a suspension order.