Ban on sales of vape flavors won’t stop teenagers from using e-cigs

Art+by+Erin+Lee.

Art by Erin Lee.

Hannah Kim

It starts with the city, and the county is next.

The City of Laguna Niguel has become the first in Orange County to ban the sales of flavored e-cigarettes.

Several other municipalities including Fullerton will be keeping a close eye on how effective such an ordinance will be in the coming weeks if not months to curb teen use of vaping products, which has risen to 37% in seniors according to newsinhealth.gov.

Meanwhile, I’m not on board with it because a prohibition of stores from selling such items won’t stop my peers from getting their hands on flavored vaping products. 

It sounds like a good idea in theory, but this wouldn’t work the way government leaders or other adults hope; in fact, it acts more as a step back than a step forward.

With the introduction of e-cigarettes and vape pens, new advertisement attempts include flavorings. Some say this is a plan to advertise to kids more than adults, but that’s not the case.

Smoking regular cigarettes has been on the decline since e-cigarettes hit the market according to the Centers for Disease Control, and the selling of e-cigarettes hasn’t been completely negative as they can help some adults quit smoking. 

Of course, this isn’t true for everyone. In fact, some benefits to keeping the flavors include helping adult smokers switch to e-cigarettes. The Center for Disease Control stated on its website that vape pens can benefit adult smokers’ health so long as they completely replace nicotine and tobacco products, so flavors could (in theory) be a good idea.

Now, I know I sound like I’m defending e-cigarettes and trying to keep them on the market, but I don’t think those of my generation are going to stop smoking even if flavors are banned. I understand what Laguna Niguel’s city council is trying to do, and I’m glad it’s trying to prevent teenagers from getting involved with drugs, but it’s not going to work because minors smoked in the past without different flavors tempting them.

In the past, cigarettes started the trend that “smoking is cool” and that “lighting up” won’t hurt. Many movies showed “cool” kids smoking, which gave the impression to viewers that lighting up is something to be admired, and cigarettes samples were even offered to children in the past. 

I don’t think consumers had candy-flavored cigarette choices in the late 1800s or early 1900s, and if they did exist, menthol-flavored cigarettes were more well-known. 

Teenagers were still smoking back then, so how would taking flavors off the market change anything? Yes, it could alter some of the statistics, but it could also lead other adults to smoke again. This means these addicts will become less likely to find an alternative way to stop their habit.

SInce 1976, the percentage of high school students who smoke has been fairly high, but the invention of e-cigarettes prompted these percentages 29 percent of seniors in 1976 to smaller numbers 3.6 percent of seniors in 2019 according to hhs.gov.

In addition, more people are at risk of getting involved with the police if caught with these substances. I hate to admit it, but people in Laguna Niguel can and will find a way to still distribute flavored “e-juice” even if these flavored cigarettes are banned. For some, the allure of wealth in flavored e-cig sales outweigh the threat of a fine or jail time. 

We already have drug-sniffing dogs on campus, schools in New York and Dana Hills High School are installing drug sensors in their bathrooms, and North Texas forces students to attend a disciplinary school for a month if caught with a vape to keep the epidemic at bay. 

If flavored e-liquids get banned and smokers are caught with them, they’d be sent to jail and fined, thus leaving them with a criminal record and further ruining their opportunities at getting jobs and leading good lives according to changelabsolutions.org. 

Instead of banning flavored e-cigarettes, sniffer dogs or smoke detectors installed in bathrooms or hallways can be introduced to schools. There are other ways to fix the growing smoking epidemic, so banning these flavors isn’t the only option to consider. 

In fact, the Prohibition Era had a similar event in which the selling of alcohol was illegal, but this only made people want to drink more. People were drinking and breaking the law, and if it happened in the past, it can happen again. If e-juice flavors are banned, people will only want to sell and buy more, and it will only make the problem worse, so there’s no reason for this ban to spread to Fullerton.

In short, kids are taking drugs and vaping, and we need to get them away from that lifestyle, but this isn’t the way to do it. Laguna Niguel is taking a step in trying to deter the younger audience from substances, but in turn, adults will be harmed in that many could go back to smoking regular cigarettes. If Fullerton was given the option to ban flavored vapes, it wouldn’t help much. There would just be more deaths caused by smoking, more work for the police to handle and more negative responses to the ban.