School teachers in Chicago are ringing alarm bells concerning the use of electronic cigarettes. In the city’s high-schools, there has been observed a spectacular increase in vaping. School staff are worried that this trend will lead to an increase in tobacco consumption. Measures are expected to come into force to address this issue soon.
A recent article in the Chicago Tribune was the first to highlight the phenomenon. The newspaper reported that a high number of high-school students were caught in recent months vaping in school. The e-cigarettes they use are difficult to identify for school staff as well as parents. Depending on available models, an e-cig can look like a USB key, a highlighter, or even a lipstick tube.
This trend has worried school staff as well as city authorities. A report by the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicing was released earlier this year. It states that e-cigarette usage could lead young vapers to switch to traditional cigarettes with alarming ease. Flavoured e-liquids in particular are considered highly addictive to this population.
E-cigs forbidden for anyone under 21?
In the state of Illinois, it is illegal for anyone under 17 to purchase tobacco products. Faced with this rapid increase in vaping in schools, a new law is expected to be voted in soon. This could raise the legal smoking age to 21 years for all products associated with tobacco, including electronic cigarettes.
The new law should come into force very soon, approved by the Illinois State Legislature. The FDA has not yet made any statements on new federal-level regulations. Any decision regarding e-cigarettes has been shelved for th emoment.
Public health authorities are faced with a serious dilemma concerning vaping products. On the one hand, electronic cigarette are a valuable method for smokers to minimise health risks and move towards smoking cessation. On the other hand, according to certain controversial studies, it can lead non-smokers to try, and become addicted to, traditional cigarettes.