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Are Vapes a Gateway Drug?

Is Vaping a Gateway Drug?

Many teens know the dangers of drugs and alcohol, but even those the least likely to use these substances are more at-risk if they vape.

Teenagers these days are smarter than ever before. And not only smarter… we have all of humanity’s total knowledge in our pockets at all times. Today’s teenagers are always asking questions and are more skeptical of trusting facts without proof than any generation before. Yet even with all of that knowledge, teenage vaping is more prevalent than ever and it seems to be warping a lot of perspectives.

 

Kids mostly all have a usual baseline of understanding that drugs and alcohol are bad. We’re all taught from a very early age that these are substances that are not good for kids. That’s why it’s very rare for teens to start experimenting with drugs by using harder substances such as cocaine or heroin. This is why more available substances – such as tobacco and alcohol – are where most teenagers start if they begin to experiment with substances. But surprisingly enough, teenage use of those drugs has been trending downwards for years. For instance, underage drinking has been reported at being at its lowest levels ever!

 

So what’s the one thing that has been trending upwards? You got it – vaping. According to an FDA study, 20% of high schoolers currently use e-cigarettes. This should come as no surprise walking through the halls of any high school. A combination of aggressive marketing, novel and exotic flavors, and accessibility has led to the widespread use of vapes in teens.

 

So let’s backtrack: Remember how teens don’t start with the harder drugs when they start experimenting? That’s where vapes come in. According to a University of Michigan study, teens who vape are 4x as likely to start using cigarettes in the next year. Even teens who were most aware of the dangers of cigarette use were just as likely to start smoking cigarettes if they had already been vaping. 

 

The reason for this is simple: widespread vaping has desensitized teens to the dangers of these substances. The more people who are using vapes the more normal it seems. So while it might be a big leap for a teen who has never done any drug to start smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol, a teen who casually vapes is much more likely to consider those substances because they’re already halfway there. We all know the dangers and addictive properties of nicotine, but all that knowledge seems to disappear once the vape is in your hands.

 

We’re the smartest generation with all the information we need right at our fingertips. Let’s put that knowledge to use and stop future substance abuse by preventing vaping from being further normalized. We’re all too smart to not put the puzzle pieces together.

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