Vaping used to be considered an alternative to smoking cigarettes but is now regarded as a cultural phenomenon. There has been a vaping-related outbreak that has left 2,700 sick and killed 60 people. Still, people are posting about vaping on social media every day. Now, a group of teens has decided to use social media to fight back against vaping, saving lives in the process.
How Did the Fight Against Vaping Come About?
17-year-old high school student Kamal Mazhar walked into a school bathroom and saw two stalls filled with students vaping. He realized vaping had a “ridiculous” reach, and there was not enough prevention awareness around vaping. Mazhar and his three friends spoke about their frustration on the Instagram page Teens Against Vaping. He also submitted a testimonial for a July Congressional hearing on Juul.
Who Was One of the First People to Post on Instagram About Vaping-Related Issues?
18-year-old Chance Ammirata had a collapsed lung, which was caused by a Juuling habit. As a result, he was rushed to the ER for emergency surgery. After this dramatic turn of events, he felt obligated to share his experience. He decided to write about his illness on social media to save his friends from making the same mistake. Ammirata’s Instagram and Twitter posts inspired thousands of teenage vapers to quit. He also founded Lung Love Foundation to educate teenagers about the dangers of vaping and nicotine addiction. Ammirata spoke at schools and Capitol Hill. Since then, he has created an educational podcast and partnered with the mayor of Miami Beach to create an anti-vaping curriculum.
How Did TikTok Get Involved with Anti-Vaping?
The anti-youth-smoking Truth Initiative paid six TikTok influencers to create videos submerging vapes in ice water. They also encouraged other TikTok users to develop their own quit videos and use the hashtag #ThisIsQuitting. As of January 21st, these posts have 1.4 billion views. Social media is a great way to reach out to teens. They already spend hours a day on these platforms, so it makes sense to use their social media activity for a beneficial, educational reason. These anti-vaping efforts are helping to deglamorize vaping. This campaign shows young people that bad things can happen as the result of vaping, just like with any other drug. Social media may have helped popularize vaping in the past, but now social media is making a positive difference.
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