The rise of vaping among gen z
Katelyn looks at the growing popularity of vaping in Ireland among young people.
Written by Katelyn Benson
Voices - Opinion
Young people share their point of view.
When the idea of vaping was first introduced to the world, it seemed like a ‘healthier’ and less harmful alternative to tobacco cigarettes. Growing up today from a young age you are taught about the harmful effects of tobacco cigarettes and how years ago, most smokers were unaware of the consequences of smoking tobacco. Years of research have shown that there is a link between people who smoke cigarettes, and the chances of developing illnesses such as lung cancer are increasingly higher.
Smoking-related deaths are not uncommon, In fact, in Ireland, smoking is the leading cause of avoidable death. According to the HSE, nearly 6,000 people die in Ireland each year from the effects of smoking and thousands of others suffer from smoking-related diseases. Every year smoking is the cause of 1.5 million deaths worldwide.
In my opinion, there are many reasons young people today would drift away from smoking tobacco and start something new like vaping. The first reason, most definitely, is the influence of family and friends.
Speaking for myself, I have both friends and family members who vape, which is common for most young people. You probably wouldn’t go a day without seeing someone smoking a vape. If you are surrounded by people who partake in vaping, there is that bit of pressure on you to start.
Even some celebrities are seen vaping which again would influence young people. As cliché as its sounds, any form of smoking would probably be labelled as ‘cool’, even if you look at some fictional characters in movies, take Tyler Durden from the movie ‘Fight Club’, for example. He’s depicted as a badass cool-looking tough guy who smokes.
Vaping is seemingly easier to hide
The second reason I think vaping is popular is the availability of sweet-tasting flavours, rather than the rough and earthy taste of tobacco. Flavours like watermelon, strawberry, cotton candy and many more would attract younger people to at least try vaping. Some of the flavours are also combined with others such as kiwi-strawberry or blue raspberry lemonade.
Even the names of the flavours they have labelled would be enough to persuade young people to try. Not to mention that these flavours don’t really give off a distinct smell making the smell a lot easier to hide than the smell of cigarettes.
It would be easier to catch a person smoking a cigarette than a vape, so young people could even vape in their room without their parents noticing. Hiding the scent of vape smoke is easier. Cigarette smoke has a more distinct and stronger smell. Adults would recognise the smell of cigarette smoke as it was once legal to smoke in public places until the early 2000’s and a vast majority of people would smoke in public places such as pubs. The smell of cigarette smoke tends to last on clothes for a while, whereas vape smoke doesn’t.
The price of vapes is an attraction to vaping as it is a cheap alternative to cigarettes. The standard price of a packet of cigarettes would range from twelve euros to up to fifteen euros. Since the recent government increases in tobacco products through the years, cigarettes have greatly increased in price.
Alternatively, you could buy a vape for as cheap as seven or eight euros. The price of the vapes would generally be more suited to the income of a young person. Meaning that in all, vaping would be seen as a cheaper alternative and a lot more affordable.
Disposable vapes are probably the most popular type of vape too. They require no charging or no vape liquid. The disposable vapes can last a couple of days and are easier to get rid of as you just throw them away, however they are very harmful to the environment.
The disposable vapes are convenient for hiding evidence of smoking as they are super easy to get rid of. With disposables, you just buy them and take off the plastic tip and you can smoke them. However, the actual contents of what is in these vapes are a mixture of chemicals and the long-term side effects of inhaling them are unknown, as they haven’t been out long enough to see the effects.
Regardless of what you are inhaling, smoke is never good for your health, whether it’s cigarette smoke or vape smoke.
In Ireland in 2015, 23% of teenagers said they had used e-cigarettes at some point, and this increased to 37% in 2019. In 2015, 10.1 per cent said they were currently using e-cigarettes, and a study showed this increased to 18.1 per cent in 2019. This number is increasing every year and I feel it will just continue to increase as it becomes more popular.