By Brooke Larson
Vaping is a new trend that has gained popularity from pre teens and teenagers, some vape everyday or only on occasion with friends. The appeal of vaping comes from the buzz feeling that is stimulated by nicotine. Or for other people who smoke the non-nicotine one, the appeal is the tricks that are done when blowing out the smoke and impressing friends. Another draw of vapes is that there is no stigma around it like there is with cigarettes, it is a new device that has been redesigned for the younger generations. Vapes were originally supposed to be a device to help smokers get off of cigarettes. But, the popularity of vapes with the younger generation has changed the product to be more directed towards kids. Vapes are now sold in a variety of kid friendly flavors, and are being sold with and without nicotine in it.
Many people like electronic cigarettes or vapes because they think that since it contains little nicotine, there is little health risk. This is the vaping generation, and many people are starting to vape with no knowledge of the health risks, because there are no generations before this one to show the long term effects vaping can have. However, vapers have already been shown to be twice as likely to have chronic bronchitis or have “popcorn lung”, the scarring of airways in the lungs. The gases from vaping also promote severe gum disease, despite the belief they do not because there is no color staining or bad breath like there is with smoking cigarettes. There may not be as much nicotine in a vape compared to a cigarette, but there is still a risk to becoming addicted to nicotine through vaping. Vice Principal Mrs. Ingrid Taylor knows too well about nicotine addiction, and fear students do not know the real risks. Taylor expressed her concerns over vaping, and explained that, “It’s causing people who would have normally never light a cigarette to become addicted to nicotine.” Despite vapes and electronic cigarettes being sold that have no nicotine, there are other chemicals in them such as diacetyl and acetyl propionyl that are associated with respiratory disease. The flavored vapes and electronic cigarettes have a high number and concentration of chemicals that do not make it risk free.
Many young vape or electronic cigarette users bring their vapes with them to school, which is causing a district problem. “District wide, since January, we have had almost a hundred incidents with vapes across our districts and they are hitting middle schools too,” said Taylor. “As far as sight wide, most of the high schools and middle schools have about fifteen to twenty each in the last two months, and those are only the ones we catch,” she added. The main message Taylor is concerned about for students is that they do not completely understand all the risks of vaping.
If the draw is for the buzz feeling that comes with vaping, there is a real possibility of becoming addicted to nicotine and turning to cigarettes in the future. Vaping is a popular lifestyle, and just as there is an appeal to it, there are some risks to it. It is a personal choice whether or not to enter in on this trend, and as the trend grows, more research on it will be available to help make this decision.