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Addicting Kids

TikTok trend exposes health dangers of vaping

Published Dec 19, 2022
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TikTok trend exposes the dark side of vaping

Chest pains. Ventilators. Collapsed lungs. Life support. Young people are warning each other about the dangerous and painful effects of vaping by doing what they do best – sharing their personal stories on TikTok.

One 23-year-old TikToker went viral in July 2022 after posting a video about her painful experience from lung surgery after her lung collapsed. Vaping contributed to her health problems which left her hospitalized and using inhalers for weeks post-surgery.

Social media is filled with examples of young people exposing the damage that vaping has done to their bodies. Many are sharing photos and videos from hospital beds, speaking up about the scary health crises they’ve faced from using vapes, and pledging to kick the habit for good.

The tobacco industry makes vapes in kid-friendly flavors that mask the harsh taste and high nicotine content of the products. A staggering 96 percent of California kids who vape use flavors – and once they’re addicted it can become a lifelong struggle.12 The tobacco industry’s plan: get customers addicted to vapes, and they are likely to try other products.34 Teens who vape are three times more likely to become daily cigarette smokers.5

Tobacco industry organization front groups like Foundation for a Smokefree World have worked hard on slick PR campaigns to convince people that their vaping products are much safer than cigarettes.6 The result: a tobacco industry-created youth vaping epidemic.7 Marketing these products as safer lured many young people into a lifetime of addiction and disease.89 The tobacco industry tricks young people into thinking that vaping is “safer”10 than smoking but it only takes some scrolling on social media to see firsthand the damage vaping can cause. Young people are fighting against the tobacco industry’s manipulation and deceit by exposing the truth about vaping and reaching an audience of millions.

One young woman, who used vapes for more than four years, went viral with a video viewed 29 million times about being hospitalized for two weeks and ending up on life support.

@gracejohanna I got to see how sensitive our lungs are at such a young age. It happened bc of my stature, but please respect your lungs #collapsedlung #spontaneouspneumothorax #stopvaping #vaping ♬ original sound - gracejohanna

Vapes have been engineered by the tobacco industry to maximize addictiveness by delivering a highly concentrated form of nicotine11 – a chemical that is as addictive as heroin.12 Vaping is so addictive that young users start using more and more – resulting in serious damage to the brain and body.13

But nicotine isn’t the only danger. E-cigarettes contain toxic chemicals with health risks we are only beginning to understand. Similar to people who smoke, people who vape or use e-cigarettes are at a higher risk of chronic diseases such as cancer14 and lung issues such as asthma, COPD, emphysema, and bronchitis,15 making it difficult to breathe. Vaping is known to increase the risk of heart damage,16 cause lung inflammation,17 and induce nausea.18 Chemicals found in e-liquid may impair the heart’s ability to pump blood19 and are linked to a dangerous respiratory disease known as popcorn lung.20

It’s nearly impossible for our young people to escape exposure to dangerous tobacco industry products. In California, there’s a store that sells tobacco for every 293 kids – that’s twelve times more stores that sell tobacco than Starbucks.2122

This is the moment to break the cycle of addiction. We have the power to create a better future in California, and that starts with keeping Big Tobacco from targeting our kids for disease and death.

Quitting tobacco is difficult. Anyone looking to quit vaping can text “I Can Quit” to 66819 or visit KickItCA.org to join the free text messaging program.

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Hold the industry accountable

California has already protected people from other harmful products, and it's time to hold the tobacco industry to the same standards.