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New Cool on the Block

Sketched cartoon of a person smoking, a cloud of smoke completely obscuring their head, neck, and shoulders. The person is wearing a sweater with the letter "C" on it and pants as they stand in the grass. Cartoon by Earle Levenstein.

Time doesn't creep, it sprints; explodes out of the starting blocks and before you know it—different world. Blink once; magic.

e.g., Polio.

When I was a kid, no vaccine; polio meant terror; crippling; iron lungs; just hearing that someone had it meant no movie matinees; no swimming pool. Go to a ballgame? Are you nuts? Listen to Dodger games on the radio.

Then; Salk vaccine. Miraculous. Polio? Gone.

Whole new world.

Meanwhile…I started smoking when I was in my teens; dating; smoking was cool; a cigarette was the perfect crutch when conversation flagged. Then the Army; and there were always cigarette breaks; "Take ten; smoke if you got 'em" and everyone did.

Out of the Army still smoking.

Then came the smoking/lung cancer studies; and I didn't wait for the final non-controversial, definitive, conclusive, nailed-down confirmation. I stopped the moment I heard the results. Dreamed about smoking for a while but never tempted to return.

Today; right now; argument's faded; minors can't buy tobacco cigarettes; a flat-out no-no; notice posted right there at checkout; forbidden; big time; it's smoke and your lungs will fall out. Can't even remember the last time I saw a kid smoking a cigarette.

So what's happened now to change the picture? Who's the slick dude with the new come-on for kids? Don't be a dork; you gotta try this. It's sort of smoking…but not. The look is fabulous; I mean, you're blowing smoke, kid; flavors out the kazoo; banana; orange; minty tastes; and it's not tobacco…tars; all that bad stuff. Just fun…and it is impressive; I mean, what could be cooler.

Catch is, jury's out; studies take a very long time. It took years for medical research to nail cigarette smoking to lung cancer. Not at all cool.

Of course, it could take even more time to determine whether or not the chemical content of vaping smoke could have a cancer effect in lungs. Upside: e-cigarette smoking can be an effective way for nicotine-addicted, tobacco-smoking adults to get their nicotine hit without the tobacco smoke and hopefully, quit smoking cigarettes altogether.

Downside for kids; there is no long-term medical research proving that e-cigarettes are totally safe. Not just less dangerous than tobacco cigarettes; but absolutely no danger at all. At the same time, there is proof that nicotine is addictive; it is present in e-cigarettes.

Also present are flavorings.

But they're not trying to get kids involved. Nah. No way. But just take a look around; better still, see what schools are dealing with.

Face it folks; vaping is cool; dangerous; grown-up.

Here it is.

Now, what?

Ask your kid.


American Lung Association

#smoking #lungcancer #health #vaping

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