Smoking and its consumption has always been a subject up for debate. From exposure to second-hand smoke, effects from prolonged use and legislation regarding the public use of cigarettes, the conversation has been ongoing. 

Advertisements for cigarettes and other tobacco products have systematically targeted those who live in inner cities since the 1950s. Back then, smoking was considered normal behavior with individuals feeling like outsiders if they didn’t have something to smoke on hand. 

Times have changed drastically since then, especially with the rise of electronic cigarettes, which have made smoking look trendy. Unfortunately, the harsh effects remain the same and the agenda to keep consumers attached to their vices by the hip is cause for major concern.

In early April, The New York State Senate passed legislation that will make the legal age for buying cigarettes and e-cigarettes 21 years old. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has stated, “The lifelong health effects of tobacco cannot be overstated and in New York we are committed to doing everything in our power to keep tobacco products out of the hands of young people.” 

The mind-boggling part about tobacco is that it is common knowledge that it causes a vast array of diseases and deteriorates the body at a much faster rate than a non-smoker’s body over time yet the majority of young e-cigarette users continue to use the products in the name of trends. 

Today, people are generally more conscious of what they put into their bodies with many believing a healthier alternative has been presented in the form of e-cigarettes or “vapes.” Millions upon millions of young people in the U.S. have been swooped into the fad that has been declared an epidemic.

According to the Surgeon General, e-cigarette use among young people has surged. High school students use e-cigarettes more than conventional cigarettes and use them more than adults. 

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has stated that, “the agency would halt sales of flavored electronic cigarettes if the major manufacturers couldn’t prove they were doing enough to keep them out of the hands of young children and teens.”

Not only are cigarettes and electronic cigarettes a huge issue, but tobacco has even infiltrated the practices of marijuana smokers. 

My generation loves to smoke weed out of Backwood tobacco leaves and even when it’s rolled with papers, nine times out of 10, someone in the room has fronto leaf (or Grabba). It’s come to the point where they can’t even enjoy the high of solely the marijuana, but the accentuated high that comes from tobacco leaves. They are either completely oblivious to it or don’t care in the slightest because “We all die someday anyway.”

Tobacco and vapes have reached heights of normalcy. 

Sadly, under the roof of capitalism, there are no signs of the tobacco and vape industries slowing down. 

People want what they want and as far as big tobacco is concerned, there’s money in illness and death – especially in urban communities. 

We have the most information we’ve ever had, but sadly we are the laziest we’ve ever been to act on any type of change in our communities. Hopefully that changes before the damage is beyond salvaging. 

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<a href="http://cardinalpointsonline.com/byline/victoria-torres/" rel="tag">Victoria Torres</a>