Letter to the Editor on ‘A Vaping Epidemic’

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Dear Spectrum,

I would like to inform you of multiple mistakes in Spectrum’s article A Vaping Epidemic. While this article was very informative in some of the emotional aspects of having a friend hospitalized due to lung disease, most of the facts on vaping that Spectrum listed are very misleading and some are just not true. Both cigarettes and vape pens can have harmful effects on the developing teenage brain, but cigarettes pose a much greater threat to teens and are not “equal” in harmfulness. In the article, the 12 deaths caused by vaping are brought up a lot. These deaths were all from kids who had previous lung conditions, (ex. asthma) or from kids using unnecessary Black-market vaping accessories, or from THC vapes. This is not a proper resemblance of all vapes, because the damaging effects vary greatly. If you compare these deaths to the 480,000 deaths annually from smoking cigarettes, it would take around 40,000 years for the amount of vaping deaths to total the number of lives smoking takes in one year. Vaping has brought teen cigarette smoking down nearly 4.4% (1,848,000-judging by the major drop from when Juul was invented) Juuling is still harmful to teenagers as it’s nicotine-containing pods can cause effects like mood swings and depression, which Truth Initiative points out often. There are posters from Truth on almost every board in the school so it’s hard not to notice them. Their statements are very bold, and about just as misleading. The poster that Spectrum had quoted in its article about one Juul pod containing the amount of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes, although correct, fails to properly explain the proportions of nicotine in a Juul pod. A Juul pod contains 200 puffs of smoke and has 59 mL of nicotine. A cigarette contains varieties of nicotine levels, ranging from 1.5 mL to 9mL and usually lasts for about 5 puffs of smoke. Each puff from a Juul pod will give someone 0.295 mL of nicotine, whereas the average puff from a cigarette will give someone a bit less than 1.4 mL of nicotine. Truth has some wacky posters too, one claiming that “if you don’t believe that vaping is addictive, it may have already altered your brain” when sadly, vaping cannot change your preexisting thinking patterns and opinions. On Truth’s website, they explain how they were started, and how they are funded to this day-the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement-where the four largest cigarette manufacturers made a deal that they would start up a company to warn teenagers about the dangers of smoking cigarettes, but it has now become a company which targets a cigarette’s greatest rival: a Juul. Juuling can have horrible side effects, but cigarettes kill way more than they do. It’s just not right to say that they have equally harmful effects when countless doctors and physicians have proved that cigarettes are way worse. I am in no way a vaper, and the fact that teens are vaping is very sad, but I hope that you can understand why telling people the actual truth about smoking and vaping is important, and I think that they also deserve to know that putting any harmful substance into your body is terrible for your mental and physical health. Since a Juul is a fairly new product, we can never be sure that this is the full answer, but based on the information that we already know, vaping may harm, but smoking kills.

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