BY: CLAIRE KIM
With schools shifted to an online platform, zoom calls scheduled back to back, no opportunity for real, raw social connections, time spent locked in one’s room in their parent’s house, the effects of the coronavirus on teenagers are surely immense. The unpredictability of the future in regards to the novel virus has led teenagers to feel trapped, helpless, and constantly anxious, further perpetuating deteriorating mental health.
All alone, teenagers have grown vulnerable. And with this breach in vulnerability, lies opportunities for unhealthy tendencies to overwhelm the teenage psyche, specifically, drug abuse and addiction.
Most well known in the market after last year’s trending Juul, the e-cigarette known as Puff Bar has taken the teenage consumers by storm. Advertised with the slogan, “We know that the inside-vibes have been … quite a challenge. Stay sane with Puff Bar this solo-break. We know you’ll love it. It’s the perfect escape from the back-to-back zoom calls, parental texts, and WFH stress.”, the sales of this product have inevitably increased tremendously during the chaos of the pandemic, as fear, paranoia, and anxiety have permeated in the minds of many teenagers. It’s saddening to see, but as a generation so involved with substances to cope with mental burdens long before the coronavirus, the amplified usage of such e-cigarettes and other draining drugs is not an utter shock. Teenagers are more vulnerable than ever right now, so expectations of “self-control” from them are quite absurd to remark.
The fact that businesses, like Puff Bar, are taking advantage of this unprecedented vulnerability is, quite honestly, upsetting. Though market strategies are based on the consumer’s current conditions and desires, it’s not okay for businesses to perpetuate worsening mental health habits during a time that’s already so turbulent and alarming.
Money should never reign superior to mental health.