Gen Z might quit vaping to show solidarity with the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo — here’s why


Generation Z might finally be ready to put down their vapes, but not for the reason you’d expect.

The war on vapes has been going on for some time, with young people constantly being warned about the health risks, and yet they’ve been rising in popularity, not sinking.

Disposable vapes have also become increasingly popular and in Australia from January there will be a ban on importing single-use vapes.

Getting Generation Z to part with their vapes has felt like a losing battle, but now there’s finally a glimmer of hope.

There’s a movement taking over on TikTok encouraging young people to stop vaping to show solidarity with the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

While Generation Z seems unmoved by the associated health risks or growing environmental concerns, they take social justice very seriously.

Creator Kristina, 25, amassed millions of views when she said she was quitting vaping after learning about the child labour and slave like conditions taking place in the Congo mines.

Modern electronics like computers, smartphones, and disposal vapes are often powered by cobalt; a large amount of the world’s supply is mined in the Congo, and it has been reported that conditions are so bad they conflict with basic human rights for workers.

When Kristina discovered this she announced that she was “f**king quitting” before explaining that consumerism was to blame for the issues happening in the Congo.

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One TikToker said she was “not comfortable” vaping knowing this about the manufacturing. TikTok

The young vaper said that she rarely replaced her phone, television or electronics but was constantly buying new vapes.

“The only thing I genuinely buy all the time is my vape, which has cobalt in it. My vape has literally the thing they mine in it,” she exclaimed.

Kristina said she felt “disgusted” to discover that and wanted to make an effort to consume less, so, she’d come to the conclusion she needed to quit vaping,

“Look up what is going on in the Congo right now, and you look at your vape, I swear you’ll never see it the same,” she reasoned.

She said that after learning what was happening in the Congo, every time she “hit” her vape, she just didn’t feel “comfortable” anymore.

“I’m going to quit vaping for the Congo,” she claimed and added that she hoped this video reached her fellow vapers.

Gen Z is horrified at the treatment of people in the Congo making the batteries for their vapes. TikTok

Her TikTok started a huge conversation online with young people in the comment section, declaring they would also quit vaping.

“Ladies we are switching to cigarettes, do it for Congo,” one commented.

“I could never quit because I don’t want to, but for Congo I will,” one claimed.

“Back to cigs it is; free Congo,” another cheered.

“Throwing mine away right now, Free Congo,” someone else wrote.

“I keep saying I’m going to quit but never do; I’ll quit for Congo, though,” one shared.

The mistreatment of mine workers is compared to “modern-day slavery.” TikTok

The TikTok went so viral that it spawned other creators uploading videos telling young people to quit vaping.

It has had such an impact that it has created a cultural shift online for how young people see vaping.

Creator Flower Boy Serge that has observed the change went viral himself for pointing out what was happening.

“You all wouldn’t quit for your own health, but once you found out those vapes were made of minerals mined from the Democratic Republic of Congo, you all were able to quit cold turkey; you’ve got my respect,” he said.

The TikTok that has amassed over a million views was flooded with young people sharing that was the exact reason they were quitting.

“I am also quitting for the Congo,” one wrote.

“I am quitting cold turkey,” someone revealed.

“I’ve been cranky, but it is worth it,” another reasoned.

Dr Kim Caudwell, senior lecturer in psychology at Charles Darwin University, said that the banning of vapes in Australia should help with the environmental impact.

“We are learning a lot more about harms from vaping, and the nature of these single-use vapes has an environmental impact as well. So, on the whole, the ban seems a positive step.” she said.

Yet Dr Caudwell pointed out that more needed to be done to help those young people already addicted.

“More research is needed on how we can better keep a lid on vaping and help those who are looking to cut down or quit vaping – especially kids who may already be addicted,” she said.

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