Think Change Forum (TCF), an independent organization committed to exploring innovative ideas to address societal issues, recently spotlighted a disturbing trend. Their survey, part of the initiative “Ideas for an Addiction-Free India”, unveiled a frightening lack of awareness among adolescents about the potential harm vaping can cause.
Surveying over a thousand students aged 14 to 17 in major Indian cities such as Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Mumbai, Pune, and Bengaluru, TCF found that an astounding 89% of participants had little understanding of the adverse effects linked to vaping. Strikingly, 96% were not even aware that vaping was illegal in the country.
This is particularly alarming considering a 2020 study published in the British Medical Journal that suggested that e-cigarettes are not safer than traditional smoking and that they significantly increase the chances of lung disease. This study directly contradicts the perception of 52% of respondents in the TCF survey, who considered vaping to be “completely harmless”.
Shedding light on these findings, Sushant Kalra, a Parenting Coach & TEDx Speaker, stressed the need for comprehensive education and proactive engagement with adolescents about the risks associated with vaping. The survey results suggest a pressing need for communication and dialogue around vaping, particularly from trusted figures in a young person’s life such as parents and educators.
Furthermore, the broader implications of vaping extend beyond health. According to a study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, adolescents who vape are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, highlighting the broader societal implications. This makes the findings of the TCF survey, which reports that 61% of the adolescents had never heard anything against vaping or similar electronic devices, not even from their parents, all the more alarming.