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Dif­ferent flavors of vape juice have encouraged young teenagers to begin smoking. | Pexels

When Maxwell Berger took the first hit of a Juul e‑cigarette at the age of 18, he didn’t know it would lead to a vaping addiction, resulting in per­manent left-side paralysis, speech impairment, and a 50% loss of vision in both eyes less than four years later.
Berger suf­fered from a massive hem­or­rhagic stroke in 2018 and spent more than 100 days in the hos­pital where he underwent three brain surg­eries.

Now, he’s suing Juul, the most popular vaping company.

On Sept. 11, Pres­ident Trump wisely took action against the public-health crisis of vaping, promising to ban the sale of fla­vored e‑cigarettes. This federal action will prevent the rise of a new gen­er­ation of smokers and dis­eases.

Critics have said the ban will do more harm than good, while expressing support for those who depend on e‑cigarettes to help curb their addiction.

In an article titled “A Vaping Ban Will Send Smokers Back to The Pack,” Wall Street Journal com­men­tators Liam Sigaud and Steve Pociask wrote, “[T]here are signs that e‑cigarettes on net have saved lives by offering a safer alter­native to smoking.”

The Wall Street Journal article touts that cig­a­rette smoking has sig­nif­i­cantly decreased since e‑cigarettes came on the market. But there is little value in decreased cig­a­rette smoking when e‑cigarette use has soared.

Health offi­cials are inves­ti­gating 380 con­firmed and probable cases of pul­monary illness related to vaping, six of which have resulted in death. People may be smoking cig­a­rettes less, but that isn’t nec­es­sarily a good thing. If a new gen­er­ation of teenagers ends up addicted to nicotine from e‑cigarettes — and suffer its detri­mental health effects — then quitting cig­a­rettes isn’t helpful.

Teenagers grew up with the D.A.R.E program, countless federal department of agri­culture com­mer­cials dis­cour­aging smoking, and gen­er­a­tions of parents and grand­parents as living proof of the medical dangers of picking up a cig­a­rette. I’m 20 years old, and I still remember the song I had to sing after signing my pledge to abstain from smoking cig­a­rettes.

For teenagers today who pick up a cig­a­rette, that is their decision, and they have no one else to blame for any sub­se­quent medical damage. The gov­ernment and the media did their part informing them of the risks.

Unlike cig­a­rette smokers, young e‑cigarette smokers don’t have the wealth of knowledge and medical history to dis­courage their new habit. They are becoming the next gen­er­ation to suffer. Because there were no known dis­eases or other harmful effects of vaping, many thought it was safe. And the effects are hitting Gen‑Z the hardest.

It’s true that some com­mu­nities can’t afford top-notch anti-drug pro­grams and not all parents tried their hardest to prevent their children’s cig­a­rette use. But these people have likely seen the real-life effects of smoking in their own area, poten­tially in a very per­sonal way, as cig­a­rette smoking is more common in lower-income areas.

Cig­a­rette smokers of the 21st century don’t have the excuse of mis­in­for­mation. They’ve known for years — before they began smoking — that they shouldn’t smoke, and there are plenty of alter­native ways to quit, including various therapy, med­ica­tions, and skin patches, that don’t cause a nationwide e‑cigarette epi­demic.

And several states agree. Michigan and New York have both banned the sale of fla­vored e‑cigarettes, neither of which ever thought it threat­ening enough to ban the sale of regular cig­a­rettes.

According to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Juul targets teenagers with flavors like “Bubble Gum,” “Cotton Candy,” and “Captain Crunch.” Vaping that isn’t as clearly aimed at teenagers, such as methanol-fla­vored pods, weren’t included in either ban.

The company, however, claims that since its inception in 2015 its mission has been to get cig­a­rette smokers off their nicotine addiction.

Rather than produce an entire gen­er­ation of smokers, relying on vast amounts of gov­ernment spending to combat the medical reper­cus­sions, and dam­aging the ability and intellect of this teenage gen­er­ation, the Trump admin­is­tration is making the right decision in pre­venting the gen­er­ation from growing.

Instead of getting cig­a­rette smokers hooked on a dif­ferent form of smoking while breeding a new gen­er­ation of smokers, the Trump admin­is­tration is working to keep the next gen­er­ation from suf­fering Berger’s fate.

Allison Schuster is a junior studying pol­itics and The Collegian’s fea­tures editor.