Wokeness finally persuades Gen Z to quit vaping! ‘No smoke for Congo’ trend spreads on TikTok after people learn that children are exploited in cobalt mines to make the batteries for the devices
ELON MUSK’S DEADLY BATTERIES ‘No smoke for Congo’ trend spreads on TikTok after people learn that children are exploited in cobalt mines to make the batteries for the devices
- The global trend sees the younger generations ditching the devices in ‘solidarity’
- READ MORE: The shaming images that show where our iPhones, laptops and Tesla cars REALLY come from: The truth about the Congolese mines where kids are paid $2-a-day to dig for cobalt
Generation Z are finally ditching vapes – but it’s not because of the myriad of health concerns.
The younger generation’s love of vaping has sparked global concern, with disposable vapes soon to be axed in the UK under new Government plans to prevent children from becoming addicted to the devices.
But now, there is finally a cause strong enough to encourage socially conscious youngsters to go cold turkey – showing ‘solidarity’ with the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Protestors have recognised that he DRC is currently facing a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by an increased demand for cobalt, a resource concentrated in the Congo, which is used in the lithium-powered batteries found in vapes.
Gen Z’s response to the problem has been to quit the nicotine devices to drive down cobalt demand in the Congo – and track the process on social media.
The younger generations have ditched vaping in a bid to tackle the poor conditions in cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and they’ve taken to TikTok to explain why
Cobalt is the chemical element found in almost every tech gadget that uses a lithium-powered battery on the market today.
Companies often pledge that their cobalt is ethically sourced – but a plethora of evidence suggests otherwise.
A series of images taken from inside mines in the DRC, where 90 percent of the world’s cobalt is mined and used to make the batteries that power our tech-led lives, raise uncomfortable questions.
People tirelessly work in the vast polluted mines of the DRC, where toxic red dust burns their eyes, and they run the risk of skin disease and a deadly lung condition.
For a wage of just 8p a day, the children are made to check the rocks for the tell-tale chocolate-brown streaks of cobalt – the prized ingredient essential for the batteries that power gadgets including electric cars.
The cobalt is mined by unregulated labour and transported to Asia where battery manufacturers use it to make their products lighter, longer lasting and rechargeable.
Generation Z have realised the connection between cobalt mining in DRC and their love of their lithium-fuelled vapes.
In one video, a profile dedicated to encouraging vapers to quit, shared an explanation.
One filmed a lengthy video encouraging her followers to ditch the vapes to support the environment and help people in the DRC
One content creator has tracked her journey of quitting vaping ‘for Congo’ on TikTok by the hour
The trend has picked up a high number of supporters on TikTok, with the younger generations quitting vaping ‘in solidarity with the people of Congo’
She said: ‘Here’s why people are quitting vaping for the Congo. Congo is currently facing a complex humanitarian crisis with over six million people displaced.’
‘Much of this conflict is fuelled by an increase in demand for cobalt. Lithium-ion batteries, which are found in vapes, contain cobalt. So, by quitting vaping, you reduce the demand for lithium-ion batteries, reduce the demand for cobalt, and you can make an impact on this problem from afar.
She concluded: ‘If you want to help, you can quit vaping, you can donate to organizations like the IRC and UNICEF, you can educate yourself and help spread the word, and you can be a more conscious consumer and hold companies accountable for where their materials come from and the impact that that has on the broader community.’
Elsewhere, other content creators have tracked their progress since quitting vaping on TikTok.
One shared a video with the writing: ‘Three hours of no [smoke emoji] for Congo.
A sea of workers Shabara, one of the largest cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where hundreds of thousands of people are exposed to toxic chemicals every day while mining for the precious mineral
Children aren’t spared the strains of manual labor in the ‘artisanal’ mines of the DRC. Above, a child carries a sack of rocks in Kapata, southwest of Kolwezi
A woman carries her infant as she mines for cobalt in the hills several kilometers northwest of the town of Kambove
Another posted a video and said: ‘Day three of no vaping in solidarity with the people of the Congo.’
Individuals have also taken to X, formerly called Twitter, to share their thoughts on the debate.
One said: ‘I haven’t had nicotine in over a year. The only thing stopping me from getting a vape is Congo. I feel hopeless for the planet. I quit nicotine because of my future potential children, but I don’t see a future so what’s the point … only Congo for me.’
A second added: ‘I’m going to try to quit vaping as solidarity for Congo, I have one elf bar rn [right now] and when this dies it could possibly be my last vape. This has been a journey.’
A third agreed and said: ‘This is [going to] be hard for a lot of y’all to hear but if you truly and I mean truly stand with the Congo, you’d quit vaping.
Social media users have taken to X, formerly called Twitter, to explain why they have quit vaping
‘Vapes are made using cobalt. That same cobalt that people and children are dying mining for you so you can vape. #FreeCongo.’
A fourth wrote: ‘Love how these generations wouldn’t quit vape for their health but would quit in a heartbeat for Congo.’
A fifth said: ‘Just saw someone say this on TikTok but people who vape if you’re not going to quit for yourself quit for the people of Congo! Vapes are partially made out of cobalt and buying a new one every few days is funding the Congo genocide. FREE CONGO.’
Another agreed and wrote: ‘If you haven’t quit vaping for your health, quit vaping for Congo (DRC). Lithium is the main component of most vape batteries and the Congo mines (anti-humanity run, owned, and operated) produce most of the world’s electronics materials. #FreeCongo.’