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53. Vaping

What do we have here, you lil vape lord? Take the nic out of your mouth for a second while you feast your eyes - and lungs - on a blog post all about the infamous world of vaping. It has been a damn long time since a blog post, but you didn't think that I would leave you completely high and dry, did you? The blog lives on! And we are back with an absolute smash hit of a blog post.

If you're a part of the younger generation, you'll be observing or most likely partaking in the vaping sphere. What initially started as a means to sway cigarette smokers away from the durry to a 'safer' way to consume nicotine has now evolved into an entirely new realm of nicotine addiction. That lil strawberry flavoured cloud of a nic hit has truly got an entire new generation addicted to the hoon. Today, dear reader, we're going to pick it all apart. We're going to take a look at the innocent e-cigarette beginnings, why do we do it, the alignment of vaping and party culture, and on top of that, would it truly be a blog post of mine if I didn't manage to bring up Freud and meditation? So buckle up, because there's a lot in store for you!

First off, let's go back in time. The first e-cigarette was actually invented way back in 2003. Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik invented the first e-cigarette to serve as an alternative to the traditional cigarette - little did he know about the evolutionary wave of addiction to come. The e-cigarette device is a battery-operated device composed of a battery (who would have thought), an atomiser which is the component of a vape/e-cigarette that generates the vapor that you inhale, and a cartridge that liquid juice goes into.

As aforementioned, the original purpose of the e-cig's creation was for smoking cessation. Yet, this is where the area of concern sets in because there has actually been quite the lack of safety testing to legitimately suggest that vaping is safer than regular tobacco products. Generally speaking, this lack of evidence is attributed to the fact that vaping has not been around long enough for the long-term effects of it to be entirely known. Watch us all in 20 years be properly crippled because of this cute lil berry lemonade flavoured air!

The basic principle here is that breathing anything unnecessarily into your lungs is far from ideal. It is said that one's cardiovascular and respiratory healths are the most at risk from vaping. Nothing is explicitly confirmed yet but a lot of studies are producing results that all point to one fact: vaping is not good for your health. I think we all knew that already, but why does it seem like everyone is doing it?

How did our youth - I sound like Schmidt from New Girl when I say that, I hope you understand that reference - get so transfixed by vaping? I mean, you can't deny it, if you're in Ōtautahi and go down Riccarton Road, there's vape shop after vape shop. University students really needed Shosha, Vapo, Vaporium, Vapeology, and The Vape Shed on a singular damn road. That's kind of disturbing, right? I guess that's just a result of supply and demand, sweetie.

You're not hallucinating either. Vaping amongst young people has exploded in the last few years. There are a lot of factors that may contribute to this recent vape attack. For one, they look cute. Vape products are not yet plastered by frightening images of decayed teeth and tarred organs. Rather, they're appear as multicoloured pens that honestly look like an upgraded version of a damn Smiggle eraser. Brian King, the deputy director for research translation for the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention's Office on Smoking and Health speaks on vaping products' advertising and says that "advertising brings the horse to water, flavours is what gets them to drink, and nicotine is what keeps them coming back." He ain't wrong. On that note, the fact that you can inhale nicotine in any flavour that your heart desires is also quite the attractive quality.

Furthermore, there is a false sense of security when it comes to vaping. Most people believe that vaping is less harmful than smoking. And that is not necessarily wrong but arguably, a lot of things can be better than another and that does not mean that they are particularly good for you. I suppose it is all about relativity and perspective then. "It's not crack, so I'm good right?"

What may have started as an endearing hoon on your mate's vape at a party, may now have led you to becoming hooked to nic and purchasing a vape yourself. Before you know it, you're not just hooning at parties, it becomes a habitual activity and you catch yourself doing it more than you would like to admit. This is a general addictive pattern that a lot of young people go down.

Beyond the physiological effects of vaping, the point of vaping as a habitual activity is a point that my mind always returns to. This is where our dear sexist friend Freud comes in. If you have not been burdened already by psychologist Sigmund Freud's hyper-sexual and bizarre psychotherapy, then today is the day that I destroy your blissful ignorance. Sorry in advance. In the beloved Freudian psychology, he poses a theory about behaviours such as smoking and nail biting that he coins as negative oral fixations; behaviours that occur in one's mouth. Basically, such oral fixations occur as a result of unmet oral needs in early childhood. Let me just pause to literally vomit for a sec as I get my ducks in a row. Freud goes onto explain that a persistent need for oral stimulation (get your inappropriate head out of the gutter) is a result of these unmet oral needs in childhood. This could look like not being breastfed properly or not adequately sucking on a pacifier when need be. Hmmm, that's some wholesome Freud for thought...

One last connection that I wanted to draw on is the focus on breath. While it is actually proven that vaping enhances anxiety and irritability, the act of inhaling and focusing on one's breath could be considered something of a meditative practice. Proper Buddha spec out here on the vape. But I have most definitely observed that vaping itself with the focus on inhaling and exhaling is more or less of a meditative endeavour. Maybe that is a bit radical of me, but when you vape you go out of your way to zero in on your breath. So yes, you are amplifying your own anxiety and irritability physiologically, but possibly on the contrary you are letting yourself relax by focusing on your breath.

It is interesting to compare Aotearoa's vaping laws with those of our neighbour's Australia. In Aussie, to purchase any nicotine product, you actually now have to have a prescription to do so. This was the result of the Australian government in October last year bidding to crack down on vaping, especially amongst young people. It does make me wonder about when such tight restrictions will come into action in Aotearoa. I mean recently, 60 mg vaping products became illegal to sell in NZ so it is more of an inevitable matter of when than if that will happen.

This little fluffy vape cloud has truly transformed a generation's addictive tendencies. Has it swayed smokers away from a traditional cigarette? Most definitely, but there has been a whole other can of worms opened. Our vaping culture has truly gone above and beyond anyone's expectations with its original intent. Maybe it's Freud, maybe it's meditation, or maybe it is just that damn grape flavoured pod that has got you hooked, no one can deny vaping's well established presence in our society.

Artwork by Chloe Bolingford

Thank you so much for reading! If you have any further questions based on this blog post or anything else in regards to this blog, be sure to get in contact with me through this website or through the blog's Instagram linked below.


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This blog will encompass the life of a 21 year-old kiwi chica. Composed of stories, advice, life lessons, worldly observations and whatever else Ella's life brings to surface. For all of this and more, read my new found blog 'Born In 2000': established on the 28th of October, 2019. Where Ella Gibson explores her life that exceeds all limitations. Publications should be expected once a week. Be sure to take this present moment now and rock it!

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