Banning vaping does not solve the problem

At first, vaping seemed like the perfect alternative to smoking, however, now it is proving to become its own epidemic.

Julia Knies, Opinion editor

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With the recent vaping-related illness outbreak, lawmakers have urged the FDA to ban vaping devices, specifically targeted at the flavored ones. Banning them will not get rid of the disease and will only make the devices seem more appealing, especially to the younger crowd.

Throughout history, banning does not tend to work. A prime example is the Prohibition Era. During this time, alcohol was illegal, but people still got their hands on it. It only made it more desirable, leading to bootleggers producing potentially dangerous concoctions. Two infamous alcohols they produced were dubbed bathtub gin and rotgut moonshine. Some were made with industrial alcohol that was used in medical supplies or fuels, and drinking it could possibly leave the consumer blind or poisoned. According to the History Channel, the poor-quality alcohol “may have killed more than 10,000 people before the repeal of the 18th Amendment.”

If vaping products are banned, they will definitely not be FDA-regulated, causing more problems than there already are, just like during the Prohibition. In fact, many of the vaping-related deaths have been linked to black market devices. Keeping the products FDA regulated will help cut back with some of the dangers, instead of letting bootleggers run the operation.

Because it is not known what specifically is causing the disease, pulling e-cigarettes from stores may not solve the problem. It could be what is found in THC vaping products—either bootleg or sold legally, not just nicotine.

Vaping at a high voltage—around 5.0V—creates high levels of formaldehyde-producing chemicals, according to a study done by the New England Journal of Medicine. Another possibility is the vitamin E found in the products; however, now doctors at the Mayo Clinic are doubting that.

At this point, banning vaping devices will not help much—too many people use them. A better option is to make it more difficult for younger users to obtain them. Raising the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21 nationwide may be the simplest option. Twenty-one-year olds are not around high schoolers as much, as opposed to eighteen-year-olds who may still be in high school.

If the disease turns out to be strictly caused by THC, banning vaping nicotine may only cause people to turn back to cigarettes packed with over 70 cancer-causing chemicals, according to the American Cancer Society.

New information about the health effects of vaping are coming in almost daily. In the meantime, the best option is to stay away from vaping nicotine or THC, and definitely do not choose cigarettes as a “safer option”—there are still many harmful chemicals in them.