Teens and vaping: ‘We would have had a nicotine-free generation’

From the Guardian, 25 June 2022:

Ben wants to quit vaping. He has a few times already. It’s easy, he says, despite the tremors and headaches, feeling hot then cold, the irritability. But then he says vapes – also known as e-cigarettes – containing nicotine are so easy to get despite being illegal to sell in Australia without a prescription, he’s confident he can quit any time. So he starts it up again.

Ben* is 17, and has been using vapes containing nicotine for two years. “At the beginning, it’s just like trying to look cool and stuff, but then it does sort of become pretty intense,” he says. It started as a “fun little thing”, buying a vape that contained 300 one-second “puffs”. One would last him a week. Three months later, he would go through one of those in a single day.

Now he’s buying vapes containing 1,800 puffs from vape shops and tobacconists, and he can use one of those up in around four days.

He knows it’s damaging his health. “I recently came down with the flu and ever since then my lungs, they’ve been not in the best shape.” He’s heard of others who had strokes linked to vaping. He knows about “popcorn lung” – a scarring of the lungs associated with the chemical diacetyl, which used to be found in commercial popcorn brands and has been found in some vape flavours. He’s seen the public health ads talking about the hazardous chemicals in vape liquid.

But still Ben can’t stop vaping. He wants to quit “100%”. He says there’s no health benefit from taking nicotine. “I think we would have had a completely nicotine-free generation if vapes weren’t invented.” Read more.

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