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Parents - not the FDA - need to educate their kids on the dangers of smoking, vaping

The public uproar over teen vaping is growing to record-breaking proportions as parents and politicians alike are now demanding that the FDA do more to prohibit underage sales.  Last week, a district court judge in Maryland even ruled against the FDA in a lawsuit claiming that the agency had acted illegally by delaying its approval process for vapor products and e-cigarettes.  The result is a newly finalized Pre-Market Tobacco Applications (PMTA) process that threatens to eradicate nearly the entire vaping industry.

Ominously, only four PMTA applications have received FDA approval out of the over 400 submitted in April 2019 alone.  And of those four, zero were approvals for vapor products.  Instead, the four approvals were related to Big Tobacco’s brainchild - heat-not-burn technology.   

As the deadline for PMTA submission fast approaches (whether the FDA likes it or not), agency officials are struggling to get ready for what is sure to be an onslaught of tens of thousands (not 400) of applications requesting approval.  Yet, their fear-mongering tactics alleging that teen vaping in America is reaching epidemic proportions is largely to blame.  It’s like the dog who finally catches the car and becomes roadkill in the process. 

Related Article:  CDC says teen vaping is down; mainstream media blames ‘juuling’ error

At the core of the FDA’s teen-vaping debate is an issue regarding “daily use” versus old-fashioned, teenage “experimentation.”  In generations past, it was very common for youngsters to steal a few tobacco cigarettes from Dad’s stash before taking them outside behind the barn for a quick experimental smoke.

They’d either get sick immediately and never smoke again, or they'd instantly become further attracted to the sensation of feeling “grownup” or “hip” or “cool.”  Heck, the Baby Boomer Generation even had the opportunity to buy “candy cigarettes” made of chocolate, bubble gum, or some chalk-like substance covered in sugar. 

The teen vaping ‘epidemic’:  Never tell a teenager not to do anything

Today’s teenagers are different.  They already know that smoking is uncool.  And if they want to experiment with some sort of cylindrical-shaped thingamabob uselessly hanging from their lips for some silly reason, they’ll choose vaping over smoking, hands down.  They’re not idiots.

Kids today spend their lives on social media.  Most teens already know that vaping is 100% tobacco-free and 95% less harmful than smoking.  While no adult vaper would ever endorse or support a teenager’s right to vape – if even to curb their fleeting adolescent curiosity– most would rather they vape than smoke.

Related Article:  Public health experts ask: Should ‘stupid kids’ be allowed to kill vaping

And in the process, these kids are subliminally learning a valuable life lesson.  Smoking is bad.  Smoking is addictive. In fact, it’s so bad and so addictive that many adult smokers simply do not have the ability to quit unless they have a fancy electronic device to help them.  Meanwhile, most kiddies would rather spend their allowances on video games, iTunes, or trendy clothes.

That is, until the adults start telling the kids ‘No.’

Teenagers never like to be told they can’t do anything.  If Mom and Dad tell little Sally that her boyfriend is bad news, Sally is far more likely to marry the fool than dump him.  If the parents tell Joe Jr. to lay off the iPhone and focus on homework, Joe Jr. desires to text and snapchat grow even more intense. This isn’t new.  It’s not even specific to the current generation of teenagers.  That’s the way it’s always been since the dawn of time.

Parents have the undeniable responsibility to educate their children on the dangers of smoking and vaping.  But parents need to self-educate themselves first, and finding the proper information is a difficult task.  A simple Google search will not do the trick. 

  • First of all, Big Tobacco still rules hordes of politicians on Capitol Hill, and Big Tobacco wants to kill vaping because it’s cutting into its profits. And yes, even government officials deep inside the bowels of the CDC and the FDA have ulterior motives for wanting parents to fear vaping.  They may not want your kids to smoke cigarettes, but if they had their rathers, they’d much prefer that adult smokers purchase Big Pharma stop-smoking aids instead of a $12 vape pen.  Big Pharma is Big Tobacco’s Big Brother.   
  • Secondly, most of the “scientific studies” out there focusing on teen vaping are intentionally misleading. If the researchers do not clearly differentiate between “daily vapers” and “experimental or sporadic vapers,” then the related conclusions are deliberately manipulated to scare the hell out of the reader.
  • Thirdly, tobacco is not nicotine. Nicotine is a chemical found in everything from eggplants to tomatoes, and, yes, combustible tobacco cigarettes and e-liquids used in vaping. But it’s the burning of tobacco leaves whose smoke is filled with the cancer-causing tar and chemicals. Vaping may contain nicotine, but it’s 100% tobacco-free, and therefore, 95% less harmful than smoking according to Public Health England.
  • And lastly, vaping is not designed for teens. It’s designed for adult smokers wanting to quit. Period.

Related Article:   Parents of teen vaper sue Juul; Siegel calls claim ‘patently ridiculous’

What many people might be surprised to learn it that after trying a few puffs of a friend’s vape at a couple of non-parent-supervised gatherings, many teenagers tend to find vaping – well – boring.  Those who don’t usually have far bigger issues to worry about, like the poor parenting practices of their Mom and Dad who expect the schoolteachers and the FDA to educate their kids about the dangers of smoking versus vaping.  Sorry, Mom and Dad, but that’s YOUR job.

 (Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

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