Vaping in Schools Increases Drastically

There has been a 900% increase in vaping among high schoolers from 2011 to 2015, according to CNN. Juuls are small, portable vaping devices that look like flash drives that are easy to handle, easy to acquire, and easy to hide. Many people, such as teenagers and young adults, get hooked on such devices because they’re told that they are “not as bad” as “real” cigarettes.

They come in many different flavors designed to appeal to one’s sense of taste. Just a few flavors for Juul devices are blueberry, cherry, donut, coffee, grape, mango, menthol, strawberry, tobacco, vanilla and watermelon juices to buy in the form of pods to put in your device. There are small traces of lead in the liquid, but when it is heated, the levels of lead levels increase by 25%. When people vape, they are putting lead into their bodies. Is that not something to think about?

At SLVHS, kids are seen vaping in the hallways, the classrooms, at Castelli’s Deli, and in the bathrooms. There have been several suspensions due to kids bringing vape-related paraphernalia on campus. Last school year in 2018, and on a separate occasion in September 2019, two of the bathrooms were locked after several warnings because students could not keep their vapes out of their mouths. Kids need to know the dangers of vaping and how it is just as bad, if not worse than regular cigarettes.

Some kids even believe there’s nothing more than water in vapes, despite the warnings on the labels. Kids who get addicted feel that they can’t go more than a short period of time without having their device with them.

Eight high schoolers were interviewed, and all had different reasons to vape or for why they bought a device. “It helps me calm down and makes me [feel] less stressed when I’m becoming overwhelmed or upset,” one female student  explains. One boy explains why he believes that vaping is healthier than cigarettes, as do several other students. Two of the eight students explain that they quit because they were concerned about the health risks. Four of the students who were interviewed come from SLVHS. Out of the four, three of them vape regularly and reported bringing their devices and using them on campus. One of them even admitted to using his device in class. One female student claims that vaping helps her manage her anxiety. “My anxiety was starting to get really bad and I had friends who had one (device) and had anxiety, and it helped them, so I thought ‘why not’”, she explained.  A seperate student was asked if she vapes regularly; she replied “No, I don’t hate myself. I bought it as a meme”. When asked how much the device costed, she answered that it cost her $100.00. Allegedly, kids are spending their money on devices they may or may not even use.

There have been some reports of people obtaining “popcorn lung” after vaping. This is where your lungs’ smallest airways are damaged causing coughing and shortness of breath. It is also not uncommon to feel nauseous or obtain headaches if you use a vape device too often. According to Health24, vaping can lead to artery damage that can lead to heart attacks, and it can cause cancer because it causes DNA damage in the body. According to certain studies, human lung and bladder cells exposed to nicotine are more likely to mutate and become cancerous.

On the brighter side, according to CNBC, Juul is making a large effort to keep minors and people who have never tried Juul away from their product. Juul’s goal is to eliminate cigarettes forever and help people switch to a “better” alternative. Juul’s CEO, Kevin Burns, said “At the same time, we are committed to deterring young people, as well as adults who do not currently smoke, from using our products. We cannot be more emphatic on this point: No young person or non-nicotine user should ever try (Juul)”.

Should the school enforce a smoking/vaping education day? Should schools inform kids about what they are doing to their bodies? Should there be further punishment for bringing such paraphernalia on campus? It is very important to teach these kids that vaping is a serious issue that is not to be taken lightly.

by Rylan Clohan Bonnet

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