May 23, 2024 (2:44 PM)

4 min read

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Graphics by John Shenon Uy

Vaping has surged from a niche fad to a global sensation, often advertised as a favorable alternative to smoking. However, beneath the vaporous charm lies a swirling mist of uncertainty and concern, demanding a closer look at the whirling plumes of vapor. 

Currently, the vaping trend shows no sign of slowing down, with its peak still out of reach. Vapers’ reasons for its continued flourishing only serve to reinforce its enduring popularity.

I think it’s because vaping is a quick and straightforward way to release dopamine into your system,”  first-year AB International Studies student told Atenews.

But what may begin as a coping mechanism or stress relief can quickly evolve into a cycle of temporary euphoria, trapping individuals in a seemingly inescapable tunnel of dependence.

Discovering euphoria

Exposed to it from a young age, whether through social interactions or the very vapor it emits, vaping has swept the world by storm, even in spaces where smoking is supposedly prohibited.

Others who are intrigued are drawn in by questions they seek to answer firsthand. This curiosity leads them to take a leap of faith, inhaling the vapor and embarking on a journey into the euphoric realm of vaping.

I’ve always been around smokers in life [but] I’ve only started vaping last year, 2023,” first-year AB Psychology student said in an interview. They added that they only vaped at their homes, for others might find it annoying and others may have difficulties with breathing.

While the allure of vaping is undeniable, its rise to prominence raises pertinent questions about its appeal. 

Vaping presents a seemingly harmless alternative to traditional smoking, boasting enticing flavors, sleek designs, and reduced exposure to harmful chemicals that appeal to those seeking to quit smoking or find a healthier option. However, an anonymous second-year AB Psychology student finds vaping’s sensory experience goes beyond nicotine intake.

I am aware of the risks, however, as someone with an oral fixation, I cannot let go of that fidget object I have made out of my vape.” 

Moreover, social influences, peer pressure, and cultural standards are essential factors determining how people feel about vaping. Being portrayed positively in popular culture and the media, vaping has also become more accepted in social circles, which appeals to impressionable viewers.

As added by them, “It seemed like everywhere I turned, whether scrolling through Instagram feeds or chatting with friends between classes, vaping was a prevalent topic of discussion and experimentation.”

Additionally, vape customization allows users to tailor their experience, from nicotine levels to flavors and device aesthetics which fosters a deep sense of identity, transforming vaping into a lifestyle, not just a habit.

Navigating through the fog

Still, concerns linger about its long-term health effects and addictive nature, casting a shadow over its perceived benefits.

In an article published by the World Health Organization (WHO) last January 2024, they classified vaping as part of the Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS), which was said to be bad for the health, especially for the lungs. WHO also stated that the increasing popularity of these e-cigarettes is alarming, primarily because it is marketed toward young people who can immediately develop their addiction to these substances. With this, WHO encourages member-states to implement a comprehensive approach such as higher taxes and banning.

Amidst ongoing debate and uncertainty surrounding vaping, one fact stands out: the importance of informed decision-making and collective action to navigate its evolving landscape.

Just know that once you take a whiff, it’ll be the start of a spiraling black hole. What may begin as a recreational pastime or coping mechanism can quickly spiral into dependency, trapping users like me in a cycle of addiction and withdrawal,” another second-year AB Psychology student said. 

Only by confronting the fog of uncertainty head-on can we hope to clear the air and safeguard the well-being of current and future generations.

This article was published in the April 2024 Tabloid Issue of Atenews. Read it here: https://tinyurl.com/AtenewsTabVol69No3.

REFERENCE:

Tobacco: E-cigarettes. (2024 January 19). World Health Organization. 

https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/tobacco-e-cigarettes



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