Vaping and the Coronavirus: A New Millennial and Gen-Z Plague
Depending on the era when you grew up, substances probably existed that medical science didn’t feel were so bad until it did more research. For instance, people didn’t consider mercury exposure to be a big deal in a different historical period. They also thought that asbestos was fine to have in your home.
Coca-Cola once had cocaine in it. Pharmacies sold laudanum, which is highly addictive. The list goes on and on.
More recently, we’ve seen widespread societal understanding of how bad cigarettes are. You can also include cigars, chewing tobacco, and pipe tobacco. However, there was a time a few years ago when society thought vaping and e-cigarettes were fine for you.
We know differently now, but many Millennials and Gen-Z members don’t seem to agree. Use still proliferates, with often-deadly results.
Let’s talk about the youthful vaping obsession and its dangers.
The Pandemic is Still Going On
First of all, the pandemic compounds this problem. Because an invincibility mindset seems prevalent in young people, many refuse to wear masks and even go to so-called corona parties where they don’t socially distance. Because of this, those infected in some regions under age 35 make up the majority.
Even asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus. They do so by:
- Not socially distancing
- Not wearing masks
- Maliciously coughing on others or yelling at them
These are deplorable behaviors. A particular population segment doesn’t seem willing to take Covid-19 seriously, even though the death toll in this country is now approximately 130,000.
What is the Millennial and Gen-Z Vaping Obsession?
Getting back to vaping, it seems as though many Millennials and Gen-Z members don’t take the health effects seriously, much like the pandemic. Part of that is the e-cigarette marketing strategy. Manufacturers portray them like candy, with flavors like bubblegum, blue raspberry, and cherry.
Another aspect of it is, once again, the youth invincibility delusion. Young people simply don’t think that anything bad is going to happen to them. Teens used to smoke cigarettes because medical science knew they were harmful, and now e-cigarettes are in vogue.
The Young Mind Isn’t Fully Formed
One reason for these sorts of behaviors is that the human mind doesn’t achieve full formation until well into our twenties. We cannot expect a teenager to have the same impulse control as someone thirty years old.
This can be infuriating to some older adults. They might know and understand that the coronavirus is serious and even deadly. They know that e-cigarettes are the same.
It is precisely because of this mindset that young people want to defy them in both areas. It’s the mentality of “if my parents say I shouldn’t act this way, then that’s exactly how I’m going to behave.”
It’s teenage rebellion, and e-cigarettes are the latest version of it. It’s young people pushing the limits of what they can do before punishment comes, and in a way, it’s perfectly natural.
The Intersection of E-Cigarette and Covid-19 Dangers
Of course, if e-cigarettes and Covid-19 only harmed those who chose to act in a certain way, then it wouldn’t be as much of an issue. Not wearing masks or socially distancing, and smoking e-cigarettes, are all decisions that each of us makes, regardless of age.
The problem is that these decisions don’t just affect those making them. E-cigarette vapor contains carcinogens, and if a young person blows it on someone else, they get second-hand effects, just the same as with regular cigarettes. With the coronavirus, young people can spread it to others through their carelessness.
This makes these behaviors dangerous for everyone around the young people behaving this way. Your age does not matter, or your seeming strength and robust health. E-cigarette vapor still damages lungs, and Covid-19 risks are still very real.
Potential Harm for Young People
Apart from that, the young people who feel so invincible might find out quite quickly that they’re not if they choose to smoke e-cigarettes and not follow CDC coronavirus guidelines. E-cigarettes:
- Cause nicotine addiction and poisoning
- Cause severe lung damage
- Link to increased heart attack and stroke risk
Simply put, the Millennials and Gen-Z members who both vape and also don’t follow Covid-19 guidelines have a much higher chance of harming themselves. The combination of these two behaviors can kill. It’s not alarmist to say so when doctors link so much harm to both vaping and careless pandemic behavior.
What Can You Do to Stop These Trends?
As a younger person, the best way to avoid harming yourself, and others, is to stop vaping, use face masks, socially distance, and wash your hands frequently. Even if you don’t care about your health, doing these things makes life better for those around you.
If you don’t feel that you can quit vaping on your own, there are support groups that can help you. Just like cigarettes, vaping is addictive, and there’s no shame if you can’t stop on your own. Ask for help, and you can get it.
If you’re an older person, then you can’t control what everyone around you does. The best you can do is speak to your kids if you have any.
If you have children who vape or won’t take the pandemic seriously, try anything you can to get through to them. It’s not just their health that is on the line. It’s yours, and that of everyone they encounter when they go out into the world.
In some ways, we should expect Millennials and Gen-Z members to vape and not worry about the pandemic as much. Youth and reckless behavior go together, and that will probably always happen. It’s all about testing the boundaries, proclaiming to anyone who will listen, “I’m young, and I’m going to live forever.”
But even the brashest and cockiest youth can learn, to their detriment, that they’re not invincible. If you can influence a young person in your life, do so. It is for their own sake and everyone else’s, too.
JR Dominguez is a technology and music editor for MiLLENNiAL. When he's not writing, you can find him in the studio producing music as Signal Froyd.