Opinion: Elul And Vaping l Baruch Rivlin

The popularity of using electronic cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco products has exploded in recent years. Numerous manufacturers of e-cigs, most notably Juul Labs, have conducted massive marketing campaigns aimed at convincing Americans that using their vapes is a far safer way to get nicotine in your bloodstream than is regular tobacco smoking. But now the CDC is telling the public to pump the brakes on the runaway train that is vaping products.

In recent weeks, an epidemic of mysterious lung issues has swept the nation, with at least one death being reported in Illinois. Doctors say they are not sure what the exact reason behind the illnesses are, but they know that it is from vaping. One popular theory is that the juice in vapes can cause serious problems when inhaled. Whatever the cause, what has become obvious is that vaping is much more dangerous than what we have been led to believe.

Tobacco companies for years spent millions on ads telling the public that smoking cigarettes was healthy. Of course, they winded up having to pay billions in damages for their lying. It is quite possible that companies that produce and market electronic cigarettes to the masses will end up being seen as villains similar to the way tobacco companies and their executives became after the harm caused by cigarettes became known.

But for now, it is extremely difficult to dissuade people from vaping. For those who are weaning themselves from smoking, vaping provides a cleaner, and seemingly healthier way to quit smoking without the withdrawal symptoms of stopping cold turkey. And many who were never smokers are also easily drawn to vaping. It tastes good, is enjoyable to do, and provides many with a sense of calm, a sort of “time out” when times get stressful.

So yes, vaping may seem like an easy way to de-stress. But it is becoming increasingly obvious that it is yet another dangerous habit which should be stopped as much as possible. I think it is long past time we found and implemented ways that teens can have an outlet that doesn’t hurt them. For years, the only ways male teens have been able to burn time is either by eating or smoking. That must stop. We must give our children kosher outlets in which they can let out their energy.

With the beginning of Elul zman, a brand new year, now is a perfect time to implement some changes. Teens cannot possibly be expected to sit and learn the whole day. You can talk of its virtues until you’re blue in the face, but the fact is that teenagers need an outlet other than learning in front of a shtender. Until now, that has come in the form of unhealthy habits like smoking, and now vaping. But with these mysterious lung diseases becoming known, we have to eradicate vaping and allow our kids to be just that – kids.

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  1. Not to comment on the article itself, but you mentioned JUUL Labs. Vaping (health risks aside) needs a hashgochah, I have not found any Hashgocha for JUUL Labs (and I have searched for it)

  2. Do you just parrot everything you read or see on CNN and decide to pontificate to the rest of us how to run our lives? Live and let live. Hate to tell you, vaping is at the bottom of the list of things to focus on in Elul. We BH have a quite clear path of what to focus on during Elul, take a look in Hilchos Teshuva in the Rambam, when you’re done there start talking. Fix yourself first

  3. I agree with this article; it has appeared that vaping is an acceptable form of smoking, when all it is, is just marketing. Smoking cigarettes is completely ossur by most poskim. I don’t know if any posek has been asked about vaping, but unless there is a compelling reason, due to latest medical research, there should not be any better to start vaping either. Yeshivos need to crack down on smoking and vaping, by openly discussing the health detriment of both, as well as the halachic implications; and then offer health alternative relaxing outlets.

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