The Daily Star – April 19, 2019 – Oneonta, NY

When my son rolled down the window, a misty white cloud billowed out of the car, so thick it could have been a fog, or a carpool of ghosts. What on earth…is THAT, I asked? And then I saw it – a sleek black tick whispering minty mist. Yes, it had a taste of fresh mint, tantalizing – not the stinking filth of cigarettes.

I’m vaping, he said. Is it dangerous, I asked? Absolutely not, he said – no tar, no chemicals, and made in America – with just a hint of herbs.

And nicotine. Lots of nicotine. The secondhand product of vaping – the mist – is really an aerosol that contains tiny chemical particles from both the liquid solution and the device – metals from the heating coil – that lodge in the lungs of vapers and bystanders. Thirty-one percent of high schoolers used e-cigarettes in 2017. A student can vape anywhere because the vapor is odorless and disappears. E-liquid costs about $1 per milligram and is sold in trendy 100-mil bottles. A cigarette contains 14 mil or less. Eventually students give up the e-expense and buy cigarettes, like me…

That sleek black stick and its minty emissions beckoned me to try it, which I did, and before I spun and fell down from what the manufacturers call “light-headedness,” I remembered it had been 35 years since I smoked a real cigarette. In 2010, e-liquid was not available in convenience stores, so I turned to smoking again; two years later I was so disgusted with the reek, expense and sickness of cigarettes that I flushed it all down the toilet.

Vaping leads to cigarette smoking. For help, contact Advancing Tobacco Free communities at 518-255-5387 or peckbs@cobleskill.edu

Kathryn Kurtz

Oneonta