The Nassau County Legislature is due to vote Monday on a well-meaning but ultimately futile bill that would require retailers to keep e-cigarettes behind the counter and at least two feet away from toys and candy. The idea is to restrict advertising next to the checkout counter — a see-no-evil mentality.
There is little chance, however, that this proposal would erase the perceived glamour of vape culture.
The recent increase in vape sales is certainly cause for concern. While e-cigarettes were developed as a healthier alternative for long-time cigarette smokers, many young people who never smoked are now developing a nicotine habit.
A 2016 study found that teens who vape are predominantly motivated by looking “cool.” Vaping has been molded into the image of the fun young person. Despite fears that vaping is a gateway to traditional smoking, many teens actually perceive cigarettes as disgusting — the tar, the yellow teeth, the pungent smell. Vaping offers a stylish alternative — a sleek, tech-savvy, well-designed product with nice-tasting vape juice. A glorified cigarette.