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The Doctors acknowledge that many students need financial assistance to attend college, but is accepting a scholarship from an e-cigarette or vaping company the right way to do it? There is a rise in these companies offering students scholarships ranging from $250-$5,000!
Students can find information about these scholarships on the companies' websites. Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra looked at five of these companies offering scholarships and found that some of the questions are benign like "What fuels you?" and "How do you hope to make the world better?" but more of them were biased. There were questions such as "What are the dangers of tobacco?" and "How can e-cigarettes help people quit smoking?"
Critics are saying these scholarships are being used as a way to market their products to teens. “They’re trying to transfer all the burden onto the health risks of tobacco and the smoke but try to make it sound like these [e-cigarettes and vaping] are completely without risk!” Dr. Batra says. This is not true since it is known that nicotine in these products is highly addictive.
There is actually a federal law which prohibits people from marketing substances directly to teens so this is a way to circumvent that using the scholarships.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says while he doesn't believe this is right, if he were a senior in high school in need of money, he would take advantage of these scholarships! He adds that while this may not be a popular statement, he would still rather see kids using e-cigarettes over regular ones (not that e-cigarettes are a healthy choice).
Dr. Batra shares an alarming statistic that from 2011-2015 e-cigarette use among teenagers has increased by 900 percent! Nicotine does affect brain development, as well as neurological function in adolescents. There are other chemicals in e-cigarettes and vape pens, even if they are tobacco-free, which can cause lung hypersensitivity and other diseases. Dr. Batra says this whole situation puts teens in a tough position.