The United States has a long and complicated history with nicotine. The epidemic of smoking cigarettes rose to dramatic heights in the 1990s after a series of lawsuits against major tobacco companies. Since that time, the number of cigarette smokers in this country has been dropping. Many people praised electronic cigarettes when they first came out as ways to help longtime cigarette smokers break the habit. However, many people are now turning to traditional cigarettes to curb their nicotine addiction. If you or a loved one is struggling with nicotine addiction or illness due to vaping, don’t hesitate to contact our e-cigarette illness lawyers.
Why are e-cigarettes so addictive?
It may seem counter-intuitive that people are turning to cigarettes to curb their addiction to nicotine. After all, was the goal of e-cigarettes not to help people quit smoking cigarettes in the first place?
Unfortunately, studies have shown that many e-cigarette users never smoked cigarettes in the first place. This is particularly true for young people who have picked up the e-cigarette habit over the last few years. Studies show that from 2017 to 2018, there was a 78% increase in e-cigarette use among high school students and a 48% increase among middle school students.
The answer to why people would turn to traditional cigarettes has to do with the nicotine concentration inside of e-cigarettes. Using the most well-known e-cigarette brand as an example, JUUL, the nicotine solution inside of their liquid pods is approximately 5% nicotine. One JUUL liquid pod contains approximately 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine.
Many e-cigarette users have begun to realize that this much nicotine is unsafe, but they know simply quitting is not possible. This is why many e-cigarette users are returning to traditional combustible cigarettes or picking them up for the first time.
A path of desperation
Lucas McClain started smoking traditional cigarettes when he was in high school but switched to vaping because he heard that e-cigarettes were safer. Like so many other people his age, his e-cigarette of choice became JUUL.
“Juul made my nicotine addiction a lot worse,” said McClain. “When I didn’t have it for more than two hours, I’d get very anxious.”
McClain is one of the many people now turning to traditional cigarettes to curb his nicotine addiction. On stressful days, McClain says that he would finish one JUUL liquid pod in about three hours. That means he was taking in approximately 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine during that three-hour period.
McClain says he knows that there are serious risks associated with smoking traditional cigarettes. Lung cancer runs in his family. However, he thinks that it will be easier to stop smoking traditional cigarettes than e-cigarettes.
There are risks for both products
The risks associated with traditional cigarettes are well-known. Unfortunately, we do not yet know all of the risks associated with e-cigarette usage. These products have simply not been around long enough for thorough studies to be completed and the e-cigarette manufacturers have been slow to submit their product for testing.
Regardless of whether users choose to smoke or vape, major cigarette companies will come out on top. Altria invested nearly $13 billion in JUUL last year. Altria also sells Marlboro and other tobacco brands in the US. They are going to make money from consumers no matter what route they take. Major tobacco companies may have gotten exactly what they wanted. The rate of youth smoking had plummeted in the United States, but e-cigarettes gave new life to youth addiction. This is a problem that should concern everyone.