Vaping Epidemic Hits Clairemont High

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Vaping Epidemic Hits Clairemont High

photo: flickr.com

photo: flickr.com

photo: flickr.com

photo: flickr.com

Hannah Robertson, student-journalist

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Walking past the bathrooms, through the halls, and in classrooms, at Clairemont High School the aromas of blueberry, watermelon, or cinnamon come from vaping devices. Electronic cigarette use has become a very serious problem on campus where students are getting caught by security and getting suspended because of it.

The use of e-cigarettes has grown in popularity and use among teenagers across the nation. But the harmful effects that result from it is being ignored.

The Director of Clinical Research at the John Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease Dr. M. Blaha said, “E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which research suggests may be as addictive as heroin and cocaine. What’s even worse is users get even more nicotine than they would from a tobacco product, extra strength cartridges are available which have a higher concentration of the drug.”

Teens need to be educated of what is in vapes; it is not just flavoring and water vapor.

The electronic cigarettes known as vaping contain many harmful chemicals not meant for the human body to be inhaling.

While cigarettes cannot be sold to underage youth it is a popular practice that many teens are trying for different reasons. Some start vaping due to peer pressure or the sweet, candy-like flavors available.

The companies that sell these products may not care about the young adults they are selling to since their goal is to make a profit.

“They aren’t marketing to adults, so I think there was a bit of nastiness in a society where the big companies were allowed to market to teens. So now after a couple of years of this nonsense, there is evidence that it’s horrible for you,” said Registered Nurse Sascha Lopez Nusser.

Due to vapes being marketed to younger people there is evidence that smoking e-cigarettes have increased drastically.

In 2015, the U.S. Surgeon General reported that the use of e-cigarettes increased 900% and that 40% of young adult users had never smoked or used tobacco products.

“Social media plays a role to younger kids vaping now. Sometimes I’ll be on Instagram and there will be videos of famous people smoking or vaping,” said 9th grader Colton Tipps.

When teens see their favorite celebrity vaping they get the idea that it is fun and safe to do. Fitting in is important for some teenagers even if that means doing something extremely unhealthy.

The brain of a teen is still developing and by vaping or consuming any type of stimulant can harm the body. 

The effects of vaping are not fully understood yet. It is relatively new and there have not been enough studies done to know how it affects the body.

Dr. Blaha said, “People need to understand that e-cigarettes are potentially dangerous to your health, you’re exposing yourself to all kinds of chemicals that we don’t yet understand and are probably not safe.”

Vaping can be highly addictive due to the chemicals it contains. If adolescents get addicted to it, their chances of getting hooked on other substances increases.

A study done by the John Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease showed one high school student could sit through an ACT practice exam, but after vaping for six months the teen could not sit still and could not focus when they began craving the nicotine in the vape.

In schools, the devices filled with the vaping liquid are easy to hide and look similar to a flash drive. This makes them fairly easy to hide and use in class or while walking around.

“I think vaping is just so quick and easy to hide that students think it’s fun so they pass it around and don’t really think about what they’re doing to their lungs,” said Nurse Sascha.

There is nothing good that will come once teens start using vaping devices. Over time a highly possible outcome is an addiction to nicotine.

Security Officer Dean said, “Most teens know deep down that it’s something that they shouldn’t do. We all have a voice that tells us right from wrong and sometimes we don’t listen to it and that leads us to a bad place.”

Some adults think that suspending or expelling students who get caught vaping is the most effective way to solve the problem, others think this would not do anything to help the teenagers stop the habit.

“I think we should make the students that get caught (vaping) go to a drug class. Suspending them isn’t always the answer because then they would go home and just do it there. We should find something to help change their mentality,” said Mr. Dean.

When minors start using vapes their lives could go downhill. The possible outcome is an addiction to vaping and the unhealthy effects that can result from it.

About the Writer
Hannah Robertson, student-journalist

Hannah Robertson is beginning her first year at Clairemont High School as a ninth grader; she went to middle school at Marston. As a ninth grader at a...

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