I can remember very clearly the first time I saw someone vaping. I was on the freeway following a car and I got worried that the driver was on fire because of the amount of smoke coming from his vehicle. As I passed him, I noticed he was smoking something. It confused me a little because I was brought up around smokers as a youth (a matter of fact I went on many family vacations in the car while adults smoked with the window barely cracked) and had never seen smoke billow like that before. I had no clue what was going on then, but we all are well aware of what vaping is today.
Sometimes ignorance is bliss, but sometimes ignorance is just that — ignorance! In the case of vaping, I’m calling ignorance. This is how I see it. We allowed companies to invest millions of dollars in the vaping industry, we allowed them to create a product that had nicotine in it (which is highly addictive), we made the product available to 18 year olds, then we went ahead and allowed them to throw in some bubble gum flavoring. Gee, how could this go bad? What did we really think was going to happen when we allowed 18 year olds to suck on candy flavored sticks that gave them a buzz?
So here we are heading into the end of 2019, and a lot of the 18- to 25-year-old kids I know vape. Having three sons, two of which are 18, makes this a hot topic for me. I hear my older boys talk about it with friends and honestly they talk about vaping like true addicts. I’ve heard conversations about trying to put down their vapes and trying to quit. I also remember the conversations a few years ago coming from parents that found vapes in their kids rooms and they forbade it. They took the vapes away and gave them a lecture. I also know that the lion’s share of those kids went the next day and bought another one. Inexpensive things that are also addictive are a dangling carrot for our kids.
I’m that mom that tries to talk about everything with my kids. I tried to talk them out of following the crowd and have shared the possible ramifications with their young little brains. They aren’t listening to me, and I know why. They aren’t listening because at this point they are all addicted to nicotine.
Good job tobacco industry, our kids are all addicted to nicotine because of the flavored vape products and now with the recent ban what do we think the kids will do? Smoke and chew of course.
Did the tobacco companies just achieve what they wanted? Isn’t their ultimate goal to have our younger generation all jonesing for nicotine? I actually fear our youth finding out about menthol cigarettes and cloves. Are those products better for our nicotine addicted kids? You better believe that will be a go-to.
I don’t have a solution, but I see this as a big problem. My disappointment lies in the fact that we have spoon-fed our kids junk and now, after the fact, we are telling them how terrible it is and taking it away from them after they are addicted. We need to think long and hard about this. We need to think about the fact that our kids are now addicted to something that will soon be going away. We need to know that our kids are at risk of moving on to another product at this point. What is our plan to help them? I suppose the nicotine patch companies will figure that one out for us as they pocket a cool billion dollars. I’m not a financial advisor and I don’t usually give advice on the stock market, but my sarcastic side says buy stock in nicotine withdrawal products quickly.
Alicia Bull is the director of the Centralia Chehalis Chamber of Commerce.