On Instagram, a teenager posts a video of a group of friends doing different types of vaping tricks. One girl blows out the smoke, and it forms an O-shape and little clouds. Music is playing in the background, and the friends are laughing and smiling toward the camera.
Then the video displays a variety of flavors available for purchase. The teen who posted the ad can earn money selling the product to others who are interested. When teens see how much fun the friends are having and want to feel the same, they can buy the product and eventually influence many others.
Influencers sometimes post themselves vaping, which can also influence teens to do it. Young individuals posting pictures and videos of themselves vaping has become quite a concern for parents and adults, especially because of the risks to health that vaping poses for young people.
In a survey of Hilda Solis Learning Academy students, 82% reported seeing vaping videos on social media.
According to Inverse, Instagram influencers are making the FDA feel like they are losing the war against vaping.
“Instagram has banned paid vaping influencers and JUUL shuttered their Instagram and Facebook accounts after pressure from the FDA in 2018,” Julia Vassey, a UC Berkeley researcher said to Inverse. “But despite these measures to counter pro-vape posts, the content still dominates the conversation.”
Influencers have been banned from promoting any kind of vaping equipment, but now they aren’t the only ones doing it. Regular teens have taken over that role in posting countless images of them using the equipment and selling vape pens.
Young people helped spread the word to other young people, using hashtags like #juul — one of the main e-cigarette companies, according to NPR.
Many teens are on social media every day, so it is easier for them to see this kind of behavior and act upon it.
“Adolescents were twice as likely to use e-cigarettes if they had seen ads in retail stores,” according to an article in the American Academy of Pediatrics.
This finding proves that vape advertisements are not good for teenagers. I’ve noticed some teens in my school have tried vaping because of the posts online showing that others do it. Many students from Hilda Solis Learning Academy believe that videos promoting vaping are not good for our community because they influence teens to purchase the product.
“Vaping is usually advertised on social media. I see it all the time. I don’t know why, but teenagers feel the need to post it on Snapchat for other people to see,” Jillian Perez, a junior at Hilda Solis Learning Academy, said.
Teens post vaping videos to show off, but little do they know that this could encourage others to try it.
“Parents need to get more involved in their children’s lives. Vaping is not healthy for anyone at all. There needs to be consequences for the children who vape and those who post about it on social media,” Perez said.
Peer pressure is a real thing — many teens get into vaping because they see their friends having a good time. Vaping has real consequences on brain development for younger people, not to mention lung disease, so people need to get educated about vaping and stop trying to make it cool on social media.