What Every LDS Parent Should Know About e-Cigarettes

image via psu.edu

You’re at a stoplight – tapping your steering-wheel to the beat, as your radio politely hums the latest Piano Guys cover – when another car pulls up next to you. The black sedan’s tinted window buzzes down slowly; white smoke then rolls out, flowing through the cracked window and billowing in the air. “Smaug!” gasps your inner-Lord of the Rings fan. But no Tolkienian-beast lies resting on mounds of gold within the 2007 Taurus to your right, just a person, taking long draws from an attractively slender metal object.

Effective August 8, 2016, the FDA has extended its authority to encompass all items that meet the definition of a tobacco product; this includes hookahs, pipe tobacco, cigars, dissolvables, and, yes, e-cigarettes. Under this new rule, e-cigarette companies will face the same scrutiny over the components of the vapor and e-cigarette itself, as cigarette companies. Restrictions on the age required to purchase e-cigarettes will be standardized across the country at 18 years or older (parents should be breathing a sigh of relief here).

Current and past regulation of e-cigarettes has been non-existent, an unsettling fact considering the target audience, middle and high school students. A study conducted by the Center for Disease Control in 2015 found e-cigarettes to be the most popular medium for administering nicotine among young people, followed by hookahs; traditional cigarettes fell to third place.

What is an e-Cigarette?

A collection of e-cigarettes
image via smokesignals.org

Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes don’t burn or smoke, but produce a vapor caused by heating up a specially made liquid.

  • e-Cigarettes do not contain tobacco, but use a liquid containing a mixture of nicotine, flavoring, and other chemicals.
  • e-Cigarettes require batteries rather than matches, making them easier for young children to use.
  • e-Cigarettes can resemble normal cigarettes, pipes, or even other objects such as pens.
  • Smoking an e-cigarette is referred to as vaping

Is “Vaping” Harmful?

girl holding cigarette and e-cigarette
image via lmradar.org

 How many Young People Smoke e-Cigarettes?

smoke juice flavors
image via abcnews.go.com
  •  2.4 million middle and high school students were found to use e-cigarettes in 2014, and this number appears to be on the rise.
  • 69% of middle and high school students had been exposed to e-cigarette advertisements via some medium (TV/movies, retail stores, internet, magazines/newspapers, etc).
  • Marketing for e-cigarettes draws on many of the marketing tactics used by cigarette companies in the 60’s. Advertisements use notions of sex, rebellion, and freedom to draw an audience at pre-adulthood.
  • A new poll shows that youth who use e-cigarettes are 6 times more likely to move on to regular cigarettes than youth who don’t.

e-Cigarettes and the Word of Wisdom

man on blue background smoke e-cigarette
image via The Guardian

In the May 2016 issue of the New Era, the question was raised, “Are e-cigarettes OK because they’re not real tobacco cigarettes?”

The answer: “No. Not even remotely.”

The sole purpose of e-cigarettes is to deliver nicotine, a highly addictive substance, to the body via vapor. The Word of Wisdom may not warn against e-cigarettes directly, but it does admonish members to avoid substances that foster addiction.

As President Boyd K. Packer said in General Conference, May 1996, “There are many habit-forming, addictive things that one can drink or chew or inhale or inject which injure both the body and spirit which are not mentioned in the revelation .…”