Marketing success equals ‘epidemic’ of child vaping addicts


In June 2014, it became illegal in Iowa for anyone under age 18 to purchase alternative nicotine and vapor — e-cigarette — products. Vaping is banned statewide on school property, and local restrictions prohibit use in other locations.

Even so, this December the U.S. Surgeon General declared the use of e-cigarettes by youth an epidemic.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the number of high school students self-reporting using e-cigarettes during the previous 30 days skyrocketed to 75 percent in 2018.

Part of the surge in vaping among youth is the successful ad campaign targeting minors. E-cigarettes are made to look like USB flash drives or other objects that adults may not recognize as nicotine-delivery products, making it possible for teens to use nicotine without adults’ detection.

Many vaping products are also flavored like bubble gum, fruit punch and other candy-like flavors in a marketing effort to attract children.

The Surgeon General’s advisory urged adults to protect youth from nicotine addiction and health risks linked to smoking by reducing access to vaping products. There are at least three concerns associated with vaping.

First, e-cigarettes put nicotine and other harmful chemicals into the lungs and bloodstream.

Second, an adolescent who becomes addicted to nicotine is likely to switch to smoking cigarettes, which have many known health risks.

Third, vaping devices are not childproof. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, young children and toddlers have been poisoned by ingesting the sweet-smelling, flavored liquid in e-cigarettes.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Health Department.


  1. These products have been promoted as a safer alternative than smoking regular tobacco products, and perhaps this is true. Then, again, perhaps time will tell us they’re not. Be reminded that morphine was promoted as a safer alternative to opium. Later, heroin was hailed as a safer alternative to morphine. The most important thing to remember is that no matter what the system is, we’re still talking about good, old-fashioned nicotine, a substance at least as addictive as heroin. What does it matter to an alcoholic whether he drinks beer, wine or whiskey? The effect will still be the same as all these products all contain alcohol. As long as he consumes any of these, this person’s addiction will be active. He will crave alcohol as long as he continues to drink. The same principle applies to cocaine. Whether it is snorted, smoked or injected, it’s still cocaine. As long as it is consumed, regardless of the delivery system, the addict will crave it. Then we get to nicotine. Whether it’s vaped, smoked, chewed as gum or chewing tobacco or slapped on the skin as a patch, the body will still be addicted to nicotine and crave it regardless of the delivery system. Indeed, like the article says, those who start with vaping may switch their preference of delivery system. The truth is an addict is defined as anyone who cannot moderate their destructive behaviors and is very rarely successful at giving up these substances through gradual cessation. We don’t know the long-term effects of vaping. Who knows whether it may be more destructive to the consumer than regular smoking?

  2. Any person being paid as a Health Navigator needs to do better research on their subject. Merely repeating the unsupported allegations and discredited notions of those who oppose vaping is a shameful failure.


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