Vaping and the use of e-cigarettes among adolescents have emerged as a global public health concern. The Surgeon General of the United States has described it as an “epidemic”, linking it to numerous health issues including nicotine addiction, lung disease, and an increased risk of smoking cigarettes in the future. Despite this global concern, a recent survey by the Think Change Forum (TCF) in India highlights a worrying lack of awareness about vaping’s harmful effects among Indian teenagers.
In its effort to generate new ideas to combat addiction among adolescents, TCF carried out a survey in public schools across several metropolitan cities in India. The shocking revelation was that 89% of the surveyed students aged 14 to 17 were unaware of the negative health implications associated with vaping.
This lack of awareness is reflected in their attitudes towards vaping: 52% perceived it as ‘completely harmless’ and fashionable, while 37% deemed it as ‘moderately harmful’, indicating a lack of understanding about the nature of the harm. This mirrors the findings of a study by the CDC, showing that 39.5% of high school students in the US believe e-cigarettes cause little harm.
Addressing the alarming results, Sushant Kalra, a prominent Parenting Coach & TEDx Speaker, emphasized the urgent need for comprehensive education among adolescents and their primary influencers – parents and educators. His message was clear: “It is time for immediate action to bridge this information gap.”