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  • I Nahar

Is Vaping Out of Control?

What was originally seen as a cure to the addiction of cigarettes has turned into its own addiction. I Nahar investigates the truth about vaping and its dangers…

An e-cigarette

Vapes were initially invented to help cigarette smokers (over the age of 18) kick this deadly habit which had been the root cause of cancers, many terminal. While they have been successful in weaning people off tobacco, they are often sold on the high street as a commercial product for profit.

Vapes are illegal to be used or bought by anyone under 18. However, vaping companies have created sweet flavours like cherry, popcorn or bubble gum to attract younger users and expand their market. Ironically, the ‘popcorn’ flavouring chemical, diacetyl, actually causes popcorn lung - a permanent and debilitating condition in the lungs. 

RCPCH figures showed that, alarmingly, one in five 15 year olds vaped in 2021

NHS figures from 2021 showed that 9% of 11-15 year old children used e-cigarettes, up from 6% in 2018. This statistic is supported by a study conducted by The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), that showed, alarmingly, that one in five 15 year olds vaped in 2021. However, anecdotal reports indicate that this figure may be far higher. 

The effect of this addiction has been appalling. There are several illnesses (some terminal) associated with vaping, including: Popcorn lungs (Bronchiectasis) which give a build up of mucus in the lungs which cause the passages in the lungs to widen which makes the lungs vulnerable to infections; smoker’s cough which damages cillia in the airways; lung cancer caused by cells mutating in the lungs - due to heavy metals in vapes - leading to tumours; mouth cancer in the tongue, gums, inside mouth or lips; bladder cancer when a tumour is developed due to uncontrolled cell division in the bladder lining; COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) which happens when lungs become inflamed, damaged or narrowed; last but certainly not least, Asthma. Clearly, vaping is extremely damaging to health.  

Mrs Finnie with NewsKnight's Ishika

NewsKnight (NK) - How are vapes contributing to society? 

Mrs Finnie In my personal and professional opinion, vapes are not contributing to society in any positive way. Obviously, my view is more biassed towards teenagers so the increased amount of health complaints that I am seeing over the last two years have increased dramatically. It is related to the amount of chest inflammation and coughs I see in teenagers. I believe it is linked to vaping. 

The only good use for vape is to help old people stop smoking. Nicotine, although highly addictive, isn’t the problem but rather it is all the other chemicals in vapes that are the problem. 

NK Have you seen the danger of vapes? 

Mrs Finnie Yes, in my previous job, there was a young girl around 17 years old who had been vaping consistently but not all the time as she recently increased her vaping and she had had to be sent to hospital. I had to get her mum from work to take her to hospital and she had some severe chest pains and she had ended up with pneumonia - with scars inside her lungs which were a direct link to vaping. 

NK Do you feel that vape companies have been advertising towards teens recently more than adults? 

Mrs Finnie Absolutely, I think we don’t really take notice but it’s almost like pick and mix in my opinion. The way they market the price point. They are a lot cheaper than cigarettes. I think that a pack of cigarettes is over £10 whereas vapes are advertised as 2 for £10. I don't know how long they last but certainly the colours and the packaging is all marketed towards young teens, sadly. 

NK So how do teenagers get trapped into vaping? 

Mrs Finnie I think there is a lot of peer pressure. But vaping is very dangerous. The long term risks aren't great. We know that they haven’t been around that long and the research is developing all the time. Who knows what vape lungs will look like in 15 years time or what their lung function or lung capacity will be like. 

NK Do you feel that there could be another smoking epidemic - this time vaping? 

Mrs Finnie -  I think it’s too late. There is already an epidemic, you know. Vapes are the scourge of today’s society. I think that people don’t seem to be concerned by the risks but unfortunately that goes hand-in-hand with being a teenager. It’s hard to think you are vulnerable and to think that your body is functional. But fast forward 20 years time - who knows what the damage may be. 

NK Thank you for the interview. 

Mrs Finnie You're welcome. Anytime! I'm glad we got a chance to do it.  

Photos: Wix; I Nahar


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