If you like to light a cigarette from time to time, you might have heard about a smoke-free generation. It is an idea of a world without tobacco products and the diseases they cause. Nevertheless, no matter how brave or grand this idea may seem, many people view it as nothing more than a fairytale. And they might be right.
On the other hand, one of the most popular trends among today’s young adults is vaping. The practice of vaping is a little bit different from smoking and may serve as a healthier substitute for those who like to smoke.
You might even know a few vaping brands, such as Vype or Aspire, yourself. Many people even claim that vaping can help eliminate tobacco products from the market altogether.
With the tensions growing within the tobacco industry, it seems that it may be worth taking a closer look at the notion of a smoke-free generation. Here is what we know about this idea and how realistic it is.
What Is a Smoke-Free Generation?
Many countries worldwide, including the UK, are looking for ways to stop youth from smoking cigarettes. One of the most prominent movements created around this issue is laying the foundations for a so-called smoke-free generation. This generation would consist of people who would not touch a cigarette of their own volition.
Among all the anti-tobacco campaigns, this one stands out as the one with the most significant final objective. Although its minor goals aim to reduce the number of people who smoke, the overarching purpose is clear — creating a society where tobacco products are non-existent.
Why Smoking Is an Issue
Some people claim that while we all know that tobacco products are harmful, we often fail to present them as a threat. To back up their claims, they list numerous instances where smoking is glamorised in media and pop culture.
It is hard not to agree with them. After all, the images of a successful businessman with a cigar in their mouth or a sobbing person smoking a cigarette in tears are the perfect examples of well-known cliches that put the practice of smoking in the spotlight.
These cliches either add some value to tobacco products by transforming them into symbols of prestige or paint them as just another part of our culture, making them seem less harmful in the process.
The problem is that even though most people are aware of this issue, we are reluctant to act. In fact, according to this study, approximately 10 per cent of children aged 11–15 in the UK are regular smokers. It is a shocking fact that only further shows how commonplace smoking has become for us.
Is a Smoke-Free Generation Possible To Achieve?
Establishing whether we can one day wake up in a smoke-free society is challenging. We must consider many factors before we reach a satisfactory conclusion. With that being said, let’s look at two of the most significant factors that we need to address.
The Growth of Vaping Industry
According to Grand View Research, the e-cigarette and vape market is expected to grow by a massive 28 per cent from 2021 to 2028. This data seems to accurately depict the tendencies that we can observe in our everyday life.
With each passing year, more and more young people opt for using vape pens and e-cigarettes rather than traditional tobacco products, such as blunts, cigarettes, or cigarillos. This change of preferences produces twofold consequences — positive and negative.
First of all, the increase in popularity of vaping products might be beneficial because it shows that people are starting to turn away from smoking cigarettes and are looking for alternatives to tobacco smoking. Moreover, even though the effects of electronic cigarettes remain mostly uncertain, they are likely less harmful than tobacco products, such as cigars.
On the other hand, the prevalence of practices based on inhaling smoke is quite worrying. The fact that it took one smoking practice to put the dent in the other indicates how difficult it is to eliminate the appeal of going for a smoke. All in all, it suggests that as a society, we are not ready to give up smoking just yet.
The Public Perception of Smoking
Although smoking is still an inseparable element of our culture, there is a growing number of people who voice their frustration about this situation. For example, as Cumming and Proctor state in their article, “the United States over the past century has seen a dramatic shift in attitudes toward tobacco.” A similar shift can be seen in other large countries as well.
Nonetheless, the process of social change is a lengthy one. As such, it may take a few centuries before we see more tangible results — namely, the complete elimination of smoking from our everyday lives.
The Bottom Line
Although large groups of people are advocating for eliminating tobacco products from the market, seeing this movement through is bound to take some time. Moreover, with vaping establishing itself as an enticing alternative to smoking, it is hard to predict what the general public will say about vaping products in the coming years.
As a result, creating a suitable environment for a smoke-free generation might be seen as a challenging but doable task. If more people join the cause and start educating themselves on the effects of smoking, the movement may gain ground and bring satisfying results.