A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Electronic cigarettes need prevention attention

For years, various organizations and campaigns have worked to encourage smokers to quit and non-smokers to avoid taking up the habit. To some extent, the campaigns have worked – smoking has declined. However, vaping and electronic cigarettes have stepped in to take the place of cigarettes, and many users have the false belief that they are a healthy alternative.

Campaigns fighting cigarette use need to expand to include electronic cigarettes and all forms of nicotine rather than allowing the belief that vaping is a safe alternative to continue to grow.

Electronic cigarettes contain cartridges instead of tobacco and the cartridges hold chemicals and nicotine. One of the chemicals used can cause irritation of airways, coughing, difficulty in breathing, irregular heartbeat, and decreased lung function. None of the chemicals used is safe.

Electronic cigarettes do use nicotine, and they are just as addictive as cigarettes and chewing tobacco. People tend to use electronic cigarettes when trying to quit cigarettes or prevent the use of cigarettes, and this causes them to become more addicted.

Commercials that address cigarette issues have typically included only cigarettes, and there needs to be more information on the harms of electronic cigarettes. Vaping is being shown on commercials as a viable, safe, healthy alternative, and this is simply encouraging people to start doing something that will be detrimental to their health.

Smoking tobacco cigarettes has decreased by more than 15 percent in teens and adults. If organizations provided the information on these harms in commercials and treated all products the same, then vapor cigarette use would decline as well.