E-cig ban quicker than gun control


Illustration by Alex Torres/The Runner

Jovana Espinoza, Opinions Writer

It is illogical for people to make a direct comparison between electronic cigarettes and guns. Although e-cigarettes have been around for a while, it is only recently that this alternative to smoking started gaining popularity with young people. Now, an outbreak of lung injuries has health officials warning people to stop using e-cigarettes entirely. One person who actually took notice of this warning was President Donald J. Trump.  

  The president’s decision to actually address the issue of e-cigarettes was met with a mixed reaction. While some people think Trump is right in addressing the issue, others think that something like the growing number of deaths due to gun violence is a more pressing matter that deserves his acknowledgement and action.  

  Action against gun violence is important, but that doesn’t mean this new and preventable problem with e-cigarettes shouldn’t be addressed.  

  As of Oct. 1, 2019, there have been 18 confirmed deaths related to e-cigarettes according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

  The CDC also reports that most patients affected by the mysterious lung injury reported using products containing THC, which is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects.  

  “The Trump administration said. . . it would ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, [after] hundreds of people [became] sickened by a mysterious lung illnesses a[s] teenage vaping continues to rise,” according to Shelia Kaplan’s article Trump Administration Plans to Ban E-cigarettes.  

       Although there is a health concern and good intentions behind the ban, the fact that the government has begun to get involved with what consumers are allowed to purchase is concerning.  

    “I think banning e-cigarettes is a good thing, but it might increase the chances of illegal purchase, causing even more deaths,” said Yuri Martinez, 21, transfer student and liberal arts major 

    The problem is not the actual e-cigarettes, but rather that teenagers are prone to using them, and how they can get so caught up in a fad that they won’t consider the harm they are doing to themselves. Implementing a policy for health classes in high schools to dedicate more class time to the risks of e-cigarettes may be a better alternative to creating a ban on e-cigarettes. 

    The absurdity of regulating consumption as a permanent solution to deaths among teenagers due to e-cigarettes is not the only problem. People’s reaction to the news is just as troubling.      

    “As news of the Trump administration’s plan to ban most flavored e-cigarettes rippled across social media, another topic quickly hijacked the conversation: gun control. Pointing out that the thousands of gun deaths in the United States vastly outnumber the six fatalities attributed to vaping, some activists and legislators bemoaned the lack of meaningful action on guns,” wrote Brittany Shammas for The Washington Post. 

    Gun control and the recent atrocious school shootings should receive priority over e-cigarettes, but to call attention to one issue by disregarding another is not the way to go about it. True enough, kids and faculty members in school shootings did not choose to die at the hands of an unstable mind with malicious intent. On the other hand, teenagers purchasing e-cigarettes are doing it willingly, and it can be addressed over an extended time period. However, that does not mean e-cigarettes and the recent health concerns should go disregarded.  

    “Adolescent years are times of important brain development. Brain development begins during the growth of the fetus in the womb and continues through childhood and to about age 25. Nicotine exposure during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and harm the developing brain,” according to the website Know the Risks; E-Cigarette and Young People, which is a product of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is better to tackle the issue while it is in its early stages of development than to wait until it is far too difficult to do anything about it. Although I still believe that the solution is not to ban them, I still recognize that the issue should not be overlooked or neglected.    

    “It is a good thing Trump is banning flavored e-cigs because people are dying, but he should use his resources towards issues that truly matter like poverty, immigration, gun control, or a way to improve our economy,” said Uliani Ceja a junior and economics major.   

  People’s dissatisfaction with President Trump’s focus on the e-cigarette issue shouldn’t discourage him from continuing to try and bring attention to health concerns. Rather than be divided over either guns or e-cigarettes, people should come together and agree on how to save young people from very preventable e-cigarette lung injuries.