What was once a sign of wealth and prosperity, the Juul reinvented how people could consume nicotine. I would argue it was the greatest invention since sliced bread. Like anything else in this world, the greedy capitalists came in and banned the Mango Juul pod (everyone’s favorite) and sent the vape community into a frenzy. Rather than being a graceful transition of power, it ended up being like the 2020 Election, not pretty. A plethora of technological advances in vape engineering brought us “disposables”. From frat boys to granola girls and everyone in between, you will see young americans smoking flavored air out of what looks like a colored AirPod case. Nicotine addicts around the country have had a less-than-graceful fall from the glory days due to these new vapes. But why?
Like Trump, I blame “China”.
The most popular of these new “disposable” vapes are put into the lungs of our youth by a company named “Elf Bars“. They were first started in 2018 in none other than Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. Like the Trojan Horse, this feels deliberate.
Flavored vapes and the Opium Wars may seem disconnected at first glance, but upon a closer examination, it shows a fascinating parallel between these seemingly distant and exclusive things. Just as the Opium Wars were rooted in the global trade of opium, flavored vapes are intertwined with the ever growing nicotine and vaping industry, funded by China.
“History is never dead. It crawls its way into our present and shapes our future.” -J.U Scribe
The Opium Wars, waged in the 19th century, were fueled by the lucrative opium trade between China and Western powers, notably Britain. This trade imbalance and the devastating effects of opium addiction on Chinese society led to conflict. Similarly, flavored vapes have raised concerns about targeting young people and the potential for addiction, echoing the historical misuse of opium.
Remember those greedy capitalists we talked about earlier? In both cases, economic interests are harpooned with public health. The Opium Wars are an example of the exploitation of a substance for financial gain, despite its detrimental societal effects. Similarly, flavored vapes have drawn scrutiny from politicans and women named “Karen” for their appeal to a younger demographic through fun flavors, raising questions about the ethics of profiting from potential addiction.As a proud American, I believe there is one solution for all this madness. Stop the import of all vapes into the United States and let kids start smoking cigarettes again.
While I have no proof that this is true, it keeps me awake along with the existential dread of being a failure to my parents.