Clouded judgment: raising the vaping age


With the Food and Drug Agencies crackdown on Juus to lower the amount of underage vapers in late 2018, many were shocked to find that their beloved mango-, fruit- and crembrulet-flavored pods were no longer sold in stores.

The motive behind this decision was to eliminate young audiences from being attracted to these flavors.

“Our intent was never to have youth use Juul products,” Juul CEO Kevin Burns said, taking responsibility for the underage crowd getting hooked on vaping. “But intent is not enough, the numbers are what matters, and the numbers tell us underage use of e-cigarette products is a problem.”

But the change doesn’t stop there. With California, Maine, New York and Hawaii among the states that have raised the minimum age to purchasing vape products to 21 over the past few years, many others are pushing for the vaping age to be risen. With the debate ensuing, one must see the pros and cons of raising the vaping age in Arizona.

“I don’t think they should,” said Pima music major Amanda Martinez, 18, regarding the debate over whether to change the age to 21. “If you are 18 and considered an adult then you should be able to make your own decisions and what you want to put in your body.”

Not all feel the same way. Eight in 10 support raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco as well as e-cigarette products, a 2018 Texas Medical Center’s survey shows.

There also is a large movement pushing for the age to raise. Many behind this movement are concerned parents, teachers and school officials who have seen all too many children vaping.

“It’s not really good for your lungs. It’s the same thing with cigarettes,” said Pima undeclared major Aidan McClure. “The fact that you can’t buy alcohol but you can get something that’s pretty much going to give you lung cancer … Vaping or cigarettes, you are going to get lung cancer. Frankly, I’m all in support of raising the age.”

There are health consequences that can come from vaping. The long-term health effects of vaping are still in question. No one knows how this will affect consumers down the line in 10, 15 or 20 years. It is a very unknown thing that people are blindly getting addicted, too. These e-cigarette companies market their products as being the healthy way to smoke, when in reality there aren’t enough studies to prove that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional methods of smoking.

“The fact is if you are addicted you are addicted,” Marissa Mendez, a Pima student, said. “Those addicted are going to find a way to purchase it somehow. It could be through an older sibling, an older friend, or going to stores that are lenient on ID’ing you, but they will find a way.”

I believe that though there isn’t enough research, it should be up to 18-year-olds to decide what they wish to put into their bodies.

If an 18-year-old is able to be drafted into the military, marry, to live on their own, vote in the elections, and make other life-changing decisions, it seems only logical that they should be able to decide what they want to put in their bodies.

As the debate continues and more states further anti-vaping laws, lots of change is bound to occur. Businesses, even Juul’s headquarters in San Francisco, have banned vaping in the workplace. Vaping is now banned on many campuses as well, including Pima. With all these laws and regulations coming into place, it looks like raising the minimum vaping age to 21 will only take place nationwide in a matter of time.