Should We Allow Kids to Use E-Cigarettes?

With flavors as enticing as strawberry, banana, chocolate, cappuccino, lemon, apple and others you can’t help but think that e-cigarettes could be attracting children as much as they are luring smokers who want to quit. The question is should we allow them to or not? A few days ago before the burnt wick incident, I invited my wife to have a puff or two. I bought two new flavors: strawberry and banana. She’s a non-smoker but she enjoyed it nonetheless. I hope I won’t get judged for this, but it really is worth sharing. Two consenting adults are free to do what they wish after all. I let her puff some strawberry and she said that she liked it. So from then on, we occasionally shared the vape.

E-cigarettes as we know them, are supposed to have lesser risks than regular cigarettes. They should contain none of the carcinogens that real cigarettes, while having PEG or Polyethylene Glycol, the same stuff that theaters use to produce fake smoke. Finally, they also contain liquid synthetic nicotine and the flavoring that we vapers have come to love. Since the “smoke” that e-cigarettes produce is supposed to be “cleaner” or less health averse, they can be smoked indoors.

When I was a regular smoker, I always went outside the house to smoke. Smoking indoors was a definite violation of our family rules. But with e-cigarettes, I was free to smoke indoors while I happily wrote my stories. There’s only one problem: The kids could see me vaping inside the house. At first, my kids were just having fun with the smoke. Whenever I puffed they would come near and fan it away. I always expressed my disapproval, but you know how it is with kids. They’d come running near, fan the vapor then they’d run away laughing. It was harmless at the onset, but I’ve noticed that they’ve gotten more curious. My second daughter once asked, “How does banana taste like?” “This is not good for you.” I said with that disapproving tone that I seem to have acquired over the years.

“I just want to know how it tastes like.” she replied in return. “It tastes like fake banana.” I’ve managed to give a truthful, yet neutral and unappetizing answer. If she was an adult, I would have said, “It tastes like sweet banana candy.” She finally let it go. I know that it is still a vice, even though it has no carcinogens and no nicotine. But it’s still something I would not actively pass on to my kids. It is somewhat similar to coffee. It’s good, it’s delicious, but I would not want my kids to touch it until such time that they’ve reached an age where they could decide for themselves. For me, that would be 25 years of age. As an addendum, there is much ongoing research and debates about the chemical components and possible health risks of e-cigarettes. So the answer to this blog post’s title is a definite “No.

I wrote it with the expectation that some day there would be “healthier” e-cigarettes that pose no risk and harm.

 

*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

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