Hey kids, stop ruining e-cigarettes for the rest of us

kids ecigarettes e cigarettes

Terrific.

Just as the fight over e-cigarette regulation has reached a boil, the U.S. Center for Disease Control had to go and publish a national survey, which shows that experimentation with e-cigs among middle school- and high school-age children more than doubled from 2011 to 2012.

The percentage of kids grades 6-12 who have ever used an e-cigarette jumped from 3.3 percent in 2011 to 6.8 percent last year, according to the CDC. That equates to about 1.78 million students who have at least tried vaping (what using an e-cig is called). Those students who have used e-cigs within 30 days prior to the survey increased from 1.1 percent to 2.1 percent overall. Middle schoolers who use e-cigs swelled from 0.6 percent to 1.1 percent, and the number of high school vapers rose to 10 percent, from 4.7 percent the year before.

Some even say their doctors recommend e-cigarettes, when other quitting techniques, like drugs or nicotine patches and gum, fail.

What the CDC study means, in political terms, is that people in power, like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, now have evidence to back up claims that e-cigs are a nefarious ploy to get kids hooked on nicotine. 

For adult vapers, all this means is that children are going to once again ruin something awesome.

E-cigarettes, for those of you who don’t yet know, are electronic devices that perfectly replace cigarettes. Packed with a heating mechanism, e-cigs turn a liquid, which often but not always includes nicotine, into an inhalable vapor, mimicking the feel of smoking without the tar-ridden smoke. Countless people have used them to quit tobacco cigarettes, and just as many swear that using e-cigs makes them feel far healthier. Some even say their doctors recommend them, when other quitting techniques, like drugs or nicotine patches and gum, fail. 

Critics say there is not yet enough science to conclude whether e-cigs are safer than “analog” cigarettes – and that’s perhaps true. The relatively few studies that exist are all over the place, though a growing consensus begins to paint a positive picture for vaping (pdf). E-cigarettes may in fact cause a whole garden of ailments to sprout up inside users, or not. Moreover, critics say the variety of delicious-sounding e-liquid flavors – there are thousands of them – will entice kids to start vaping – or, probably worse, smoking. It was for this same reason that fruity flavored tobacco cigarettes were banned in 2009.

Girl Smoking e-cigarette

If the anti-vaping crowd gets its way, e-liquid and pre-loaded e-cigs will no longer be available in a variety of fantastic flavors; only “tobacco” flavors will be allowed. Worse, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which plans to regulate e-cigarettes sometime soon, may ban the sale of e-cigs online, where the majority of vaping aficionados get their gear.

In short, the glory days of e-cigs will be over, regardless of whether they are actually bad for us, regardless of whether tight regulations will cause more people to stick with dangerous tobacco cigarettes. It’s a frustrating time to be a vaper – and, apparently, it’s all because of you dastardly kids.

So, kids, let me just say a few things to steer you away from a life of vaping, before you go and screw over everyone else. First, vaping is not cool. I mean, have you seen these things? They make you look like a crazy person who’s sucking on a robotic butt plug. (You don’t know what butt plugs are? Okay, well, let’s just say you wouldn’t want to put one in your mouth.) Second, adults don’t vape because they just feel like it; they vape because they’re idiots who started smoking and can’t figure out any other way to boot the nicotine monkey off their backs. Vaping is only great if you’re a former smoker. If you aren’t addicted to nicotine, there is absolutely no reason to vape. Finally, if I see any of you youngsters vaping, I’m going to steal your e-cigarette and throw it in a garbage disposal. So watch out.

If I see any of you youngsters vaping, I’m going to steal your e-cigarette and throw it in a garbage disposal. So watch out.

And if none of that convinces you to not use e-cigs, the very least you can do is, when the CDC calls asking about your habits, lie to them. Tell them, “Nope, I don’t even know what that e-thingamajig is you’re talking about, mister. Have a good day.” Then hang up the phone. Please, just do that for us.

As for you politicians and regulators, may I suggest this: Make it illegal to sell e-cigs to minors everywhere and call it a day. Zero adult vapers want kids getting hooked on e-cigarettes. But a whole lot of us like e-liquid flavors other than tobacco (which, by the way, never actually tastes anything like real tobacco), and taking that away from us for any reason is unjust and unfair here in the so-called Land of the Free. And the whole banning online sales thing, well, screw that – tax the suckers if you must, but don’t kill all the start-up businesses in the U.S., which have grown out of the world of e-cigs, with debilitating regulation.

At the end of the day, regardless of what rules are in place, kids will do all sorts of stupid crap – that’s what kids do. I did. You did. Everybody did. Making e-cigarettes more taboo through new laws may even increase the number of teens who want to jump on the vaping bandwagon, thanks to their lovable obstinate spirits.

Kids will be kids, after all. Let’s not let that incurable fact make it worse to be an adult.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Mobile

Verizon has made its first 5G video call … with a phone that’s already out

Verizon has announced that it has successfully made its first video call, using a smartphone that's already available: The Motorola Moto Z3. To make the call, Verizon used the 5G Moto Mod.
Music

How to convert and play FLAC music files on your iPhone or iPad

The high-resolution revolution is upon us, and FLAC files are a popular way to store hi-res sound. But what if you’re an iOS user? Check out our article to find out more about FLAC files, and how to use them on Apple devices.
Cars

Car parts maker ZF is using drones to deliver components to its factories

ZF recently became the first entity in Germany to receive approval to use drones to deliver spare parts, and the company now uses them to deliver parts from its central warehouses to its workshops.
Mobile

Google’s Gboard now uses A.I. to recommend GIFs based on your conversation

Google is bringing a new feature to Gboard that should make it better for those that regularly use GIFs and stickers. The feature essentially uses A.I. to recommend GIFs and stickers based on your conversation.
Emerging Tech

These Alexa-stuffed retro phones don’t listen until you take them off the hook

Looking for an Amazon Echo with a cool vintage touch? Los Angeles-based Grain Design is taking old, non-working antique phones and transforming them into amazing Alexa smart speakers.
Smart Home

This alarm clock uses targeted light and sound to wake you, but not your partner

The Wake v2 isn't like your typical bedside alarm. Instead, it wakes you by shining a soft light directly into your face, thereby not disturbing the person sharing a bed with you. Pretty smart, huh?
Emerging Tech

Believe it or not, this fire-proof exoskeleton isn’t designed for space marines

A company called Levitate Technologies has developed a fire-resistant upper body exoskeleton that’s capable of lowering exertion levels by up to 80 percent when you carry out manual work.
Emerging Tech

Intel’s new ‘neural network on a stick’ aims to unchain A.I. from the internet

To kick off its first developer conference in Beijing, Intel unveiled the second generation of its Neural Compute Stick -- a device that promises to democratize the development of computer vision A.I. applications.
Emerging Tech

Frogs regrow ‘paddle-like’ limbs when placed in a bioreactor

Frogs have partially regrown amputated limbs thanks to a bioreactor at Tufts University. By jump-starting tissue repair, the bioreactor helped the amphibians regenerate a bigger, more complete appendages than they usually do.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

China says it has developed a quantum radar that can see stealth aircraft

Chinese defense giant China Electronics Technology Group Corporation claims that it has developed a quantum radar that's able to detect even the stealthiest of stealth aircraft. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Glass orb packs all the constellations in the night sky into fancy desk ornament

Ever wanted to know more about the star constellations? A stunning new Kickstarter campaign, taking the form of a fancy desk ornament that re-creates the night sky in a glass orb, aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.