PHOTO BY SMOKETASTIC/CREATIVE COMMONS
Adolescents in the Bay Area are among those that are highly targeted by ENDS, Electronic Nicotine Device System, also known as vaping.
Public health concerns are increasing with new studies showing the harmful effects of inhalation of vape juices leading to various health diseases, including the risk of nicotine addiction, mood swings, and impaired hearing, according to a study done by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.
The group most affected by the toxic chemicals found in ENDS products are between ages 13-19, which enhances their vulnerability to eventually use tobacco cigarettes.
Around 17 percent of adolescents believe that vaping is less harmful than combustible cigarettes, according to the FDA.
The growing concern with ENDS use among adolescents is that there are hardly any regulations that ensure this product is not being illegally sold to underage minors at local convenience stores.
Developing concerns are starting a conversation to propose a policy that would change the age regulation in store and online, implement awareness in preventing adolescent use of ENDS, and overall putting an end to marketing these products in ads and social media. This would ultimately encourage companies to be accountable for targeting adolescents on social media platforms.
A group of California State University, East Bay Health Science majors conducted a mock policy to implement a plan of action to raise awareness of health concerns of ENDS use, restrictions to online purchases, preventing social media marketing, and eliminating flavors that appeal to adolescent.
“I think more presence of infographics posted on campus, an ongoing ad on the website and in the campus newspaper would foster awareness, coupled with banning USB and installing vaping/cigarette monitors in bathroom and classrooms and updating school policy should be enforced,” Jennifer Abregana, a Health Science major at CSU East Bay and participant in the mock policy project said in an interview.