In the chosen study that is based on the analysis of peer-reviewed articles, we found that the rates of e-cigarette use are higher in the adolescent or younger adult populations compared to adults. We evaluated ten research projects published from 2016 to 2020 and clarified the importance of such predictors as human intentions to smoke, advertisement, price sensitivity, and health issues. To cover these issues, Etter’s gateway theory was applied as “a mix of academic, media, political and popular explanations” regarding drug use (1776). The evolution of vaping technologies is not easy to control, and people use a variety of strong commercial marketing strategies to increase the number of smokers, neglecting potential health problems. For example, Sidani et al. prove parental permissiveness as a contributing factor to e-cigarette smoking among Twitter who are adolescents and young adults in most cases (138). Jongenelis et al. underline the social environment as a determinant of smoking intentions (585). Due to available information, lack of adult control, and experience, adolescents are at risk of insufficient marketing content interpretation. They rely on personal knowledge, freedoms, and socialization to develop specific attitudes toward smoking.
Compared to adolescents who make their decisions on recent studies and findings, adults have a lower chance to be the vulnerable population in terms of e-cigarette smoking. Many people consider smoking a negative habit that has been frequently discussed in academic projects and public media, which results in the creation of specific policies and restrictions on tobacco products. Glover et al. explain social patterning as a critical factor that underlines the connection between the socioeconomic status of adults and electronic nicotine delivery systems (28). Adults have already obtained their degrees and continue using their knowledge to improve employment status and incomes. They know how to identify and follow their needs, either financial or health. As a result, highly educated (with master- or doctoral-level degrees) adults have lower adjusted e-cigarette smoking habits, relying on their awareness, observations, and opportunities (Glover et al. 30; Wilson and Wang 389). The financial aspect has an opposite effect on e-cigarette smoking: high-income adults can buy expensive tobacco products, while adolescents do not have the same access due to financial instability (Pesko et al. 900). Therefore, the vulnerability of adolescents is determined by their education level.
However, this study reveals several more aspects that increase the risks of e-cigarette smoking among adolescents. For example, Kilibarda et al. show that many modern advertisements aim at attracting young adolescents (168). Regarding the offered ideas and lifestyle changes, many adolescents are obsessed with the possibility to improve their lives or make them more interesting. Adolescents’ behavioral and neural responses are elevated, making young people be involved in smoking more frequently compared to adults (Chen et al. 769). E-cigarettes’ popularity is a part of technological progress, and, at this moment, it is less regulated than the advertisement of tobacco products. Initiation of smoking is proportionally dependent on electronic nicotine delivery systems and stronger among young children (Cardenas et al., 241). If adults can understand the connection between an e-cigarette and a tobacco cigarette, adolescents tend to believe in the harmfulness of the offered products.
The factor of human health cannot be ignored in this study. One of the main supportive aspects of e-cigarette smoking is the intention to protect health and reduce the harms of tobacco products. The offered alternative of vaporized nicotine products is explained as an option for smokers to minimize tobacco-related risks, and adolescents accept this fact to prove the appropriateness of their e-cigarette smoking choice. Still, even researchers are not confident in the benefits of e-cigarettes over tobacco cigarettes. Levy et al. state that there is much uncertainty about health risks for vapers, and policies are necessary to discourage e-cigarette use (13). As well as any negative habit, even e-cigarette smoking is dangerous due to the power of addiction. Adolescents cannot control their need to smoke and become addicted, which provokes pulmonary and cardiovascular complications (Chen et al. 762; Levy et al. 9). Jongenelis et al. also observe that young person who has already used e-cigarettes like to try conventional smoking to compare, provoking new emotional challenges (580). The connection between these types of smoking exists, and adolescents are less prepared to identify threats and avoid health harm.
In this study, the vulnerability of adolescents as e-cigarette smokers is predetermined by knowledge and experience. Thus, it is evident that the education of society about smoking remains a serious issue for consideration. In addition to poor awareness, adolescents have to resist advertisements and learn how to analyze marketing campaigns. Instead of being fascinated with the social benefits or benefits of e-cigarettes compared to other tobacco products, it is important to pay attention to the fact that smoking is a threat to human health. Although, the study is limited to several peer-reviewed articles, its worth lies in the possibility to demonstrate how adult and adolescent attitudes toward e-cigarettes are developed. Young people enjoy their freedoms and abilities to learn from different sources, neglecting evident challenges and the lack of personal opinion.
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