The classic bike shed littered with unruly teenagers. It’s an image that sends Pink Floyd LP’s spinning in the corners of your brain. In 2016 it’s fast becoming a sepia-tinted throwback. There can be no doubt that e-cigarettes have revolutionised nicotine delivery. They offer a novel, safer way of consuming nicotine that trapped you back when the bike shed meant something. The question on many tongues is how this will impact the children of today? Research from the ecig review site has found that 65% of Brits worry that seeing an adult vaping could lead to a child smoking.
E-liquid brands have come under fire in the past for using cartoons in branding. Legal departments have been sending cease and desist letters for years as some cowboy or another cooks up a ‘Homer Simpson’ vape. Media commentators often raise concerns about this type of branding and the danger it poses to children. There is more than one concern that needs to be picked apart here.
Firstly it’s that the brightly coloured logos, potentially featuring a character that is known to the young child, might lead them to consume the e-liquid orally by mistake. This is a serious risk as nicotine, especially the higher strengths, can cause death in children. This is more of a matter of personal responsibility than of legislative concern. If you have kids around the house make sure to keep your liquid in a cupboard out of reach and be aware of the dangers.
The sweet flavours, to some eyes, pose a double threat. A sugar-mad toddler seeking a fix or a petulant teenager looking to push the boundaries could both be drawn in by the saccharine notes wafting out of the bottle. Many of us love vaping for precisely this reason. The heavy, thick, taste of cigarettes is simply no match. No one is setting out to hook kids on nicotine but it should be clear that vaping is not a gateway to smoking. A e-cigarette is a vastly superior way of ingesting nicotine and an analogue cigarette can’t hold a torch to it.
Research by Public Health England indicates that vaping is 95% safer than smoking. The remaining 5% is due to the difficulty of testing the longitudinal effects of such a new product. We won’t be sure of the safety until much more testing has gone underway without the errors in method that are so common today. Dr. Farsalinos is one of the leading vaping scientists in Europe, dedicating his time exclusively to studying e-cigarettes. He recently showed that 6.1 million Europeans have given up smoking through vaping. That’s not a figure to turn our noses up at.
Parents need to be aware that e-liquid poses a threat to children if they are left lying around. Vigilance should keep our e-juice out of kid’s hands. However fears of the overall threat of research from the Royal College of Physicians have suggested that e-cigarettes provide very little risk of enticing non smokers to vape. They suggest that the use of e-cigarettes is almost entirely limited to those who are already using tobacco.
No one wants teenagers addicted to any drug and our laws should reflect that. There are now similar penalties as selling underage people alcohol or regular cigarettes, making it harder to obtain the tools to vape. In addition, educational programs on addiction should be run in schools. However, we should be glad that there is a safer way for children to rebel than smoking. The march of progress carries on.