Within the past decade, e-cigarettes have been marketed as the safe, economic-friendly alternative for users to get their nicotine fix instead of from cigarettes via nicotine-infused oils like peanut oil. A similar rhetoric is found for marijuana use, where views are skewed toward seeing it as an entirely positive medical drug to ease symptoms like depression and anxiety. What separates vaping and marijuana from cigarettes, though, is ultimately the lack of extensive medical research into them which severely delegitimizes them.
For example, it was only last year that former President Barack Obama approved further government-funded medical research into marijuana. This is also the same for FDA’s recent regulations on vaping and how it focuses on the nicotine danger instead of on promoting more scientific research into its benefits and health risks. While there is pushback from marijuana and e-cigarette users on government oversight, it is undeniable that cigarettes’ extensive research, both nationally and globally, has only been successful because of the American Cancer Society’s strong government oversight since the 1960s and certain landmark research. As such, it is too early to proclaim that vaping and marijuana are better alternatives in terms of health and safety than cigarettes because of the lack of medical research initiated by the government.
When one thinks of the benefits of vaping, its lowered nicotine count and use of natural oils is strongly emphasized as more environmentally and health friendly than cigarette use. Yet, these websites citing its benefits usually are the vape vendors and supporters who fail to cite solid scientific research behind those statements. Recently, more research has pointed toward its health risks, such as an American Chemical Society paper finding up to 31 compounds that are potential carcinogens and respiratory irritants. Even worse, its mentioning of thermal degradation — which is the ability to alter the temperature of the heated natural oil — brings up another issue. The paper found that the byproducts from the natural oils increase the likelihood of the vape’s heating coils malfunctioning and resulting in explosions. It is interesting that the suggested oil temperature is between 250 degrees Fahrenheit to 400 degrees Fahrenheit when those equivalent temperatures are considered dangerous smoke points in cooking. If it is dangerous to come near the oil when it reaches its smoke point, then it should be just as equally damaging if breathed in through vaping. This demonstrates that vaping could potentially be just as bad for lungs as cigarettes are — especially considering that cigarettes are not as likely to randomly explode.
Alongside vaping, recreational marijuana is also highly purported to be another drug that is beneficial. Yet, many are coming to the realization that better scientific research is necessary compared to the recommendation of people who vape. Several studies found that weed leads to lung problems and cause more extensive health risks like compromised learning and cognitive thinking that are lasting, especially for a pregnant woman’s child. However, compared to vaping, weed does show more promise as a medical drug, such as its use as treatment for chronic pain. Despite weed being around historically for far longer than vaping has as a popular drug, the lack of proper research really does harm its legitimacy as an entirely beneficial drug. In fact, perhaps the mixed research has helped contribute to its current monetary value — especially here in California.
Within society, the popularity of weed and vaping appears to be more a result of its trendiness rather than them serving as an actual healthier alternatives to smoking. In fact, the haziness behind both drugs only serve as further evidence of a need for the government to step in and encourage more research and laws for them. This is already shown through the government’s 1960s anti-cigarette campaign that proved that governmental censorship of drugs can result in positive extensive research.