The campus administrations of many US universities are faced with a problem that makes decades of quitting smoking and creating smoke-free zones a waste of time. These are electronic cigarettes that have gained incredible popularity in recent years. Yes, there is no tobacco itself and its combustion products from them, but there is a lot of what young people call the harmless word "steam". But there is a serious danger here: the substance formed when using vapes has nothing to do with steam.
Problem researchers say it's all about terminology and marketing tricks. When in student surveys in the same questions the word “vapor” was replaced by “chemicals” or “aerosol”, the number of negative answers increased by 100% (two times) and vice versa. Although, from a scientific point of view, the "vapor" from electronic cigarettes is precisely an aerosol - a suspension filled with microparticles of heavy metals, volatile organics, nicotine, fine-grained substances, etc.
The roots of the problem go back to the time when e-cigarette manufacturers completely abandoned the association with tobacco and smoking as a physical process in order to enter the market. Instead, the emphasis was placed on the word "evaporation" - it was emphasized in every possible way that nothing is burned in vapes, which means that there is no harmful smoke either. The fact that toxins and carcinogens from the aerosol did not disappear was hushed up. Even the new words themselves, like "vape" and "soar" are invented to associate with something safe.
The strategy turned out to be a winning one, thanks to which modern youth not only do not draw any parallels between vapes and smoking pipes of the past, but in principle consider this technology a priori safe. And confusion in terms makes it harder for the authorities and society to fight smoking legally. Scientists and activists are calling for a change in terminology to give the fight to e-cigarettes on the same scale as traditional cigarettes once did.