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Vapedemic Continues to Affect Youth

Jack Warner, Staff

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An otherwise beneficial product could now be shortening lives of teenagers, E-Cigarettes were designed with the intention to give cigarette smokers a healthy alternative, according to The Washington Post. However, now the easily accessible products are in the pockets and sleeves of kids walking the halls in middle schools and high schools.

Vaping is a controversial issue, not only on a national scale, it also affects the everyday lives of students and faculty members at our school.

During the 2017-2018 school year, the break-out year for vaping in school, school administration implemented policies in an attempt to stop students from vaping in school. Bathroom doors were locked throughout the day, and campus security was on the lookout for vaping.

“I feel like it’s just something that a lot of people do. So teenagers being teenagers, are just going to disregard anything they’ve heard about it,” said junior Carla LaSala.

Lawsuits were filed against the popular vape company Juul this summer. People were trying to sue the company because of the number of kids vaping, claiming that Juul’s advertising targets youth.  Psychiatric News reports found that 13.3 percent of eighth graders, 23.9 percent of tenth graders, and 27.8 percent of twelfth graders use vapes.  TheWashington Post reported that some schools have installed monitors to detect vaping in their bathrooms.  Our school has not gone to these measures. With vaping and Juuling in the headlines for months now, has anything changed?

“I think the administration hasn’t really done anything to keep vaping outside of school, besides luckily catching kids doing it in the bathrooms,” said senior Jonah Johnson. “And in all honesty, I don’t think there is anything else we can do to prevent it besides that.”

With Juuls being discreet, often resembling a USB drive, it is difficult to make and enforce rules against them. Juuling isn’t just done in bathrooms out of view from the teacher, students conceal the Juul in their sleeves in classrooms, making it easy to do by simply bending over, out of view from the teacher. Assistant principal Jessica Hoffecker, said the procedure on confiscating vapes is the same as last year, as is the punishment. Getting caught with a vape is still an office referral and possibly ISS or OSS. With teenage vaping being as popular as it is, are they too accessible to teens? People think that Juul is trying to reach teenagers with their products. Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kidsclaim that the variety of flavors even lure teens in to try vaping.

“I don’t think that Juul are specifically targeting young kids just because there are ‘fun flavors,” said Johnson.

The Washington Post, reported that the FDA had given Juul a 60 day deadline to prove they could keep the vapes out of the reach of youth, and the case is still developing. The. Deadline was issued in early September.

“Clearly the FDA is looking into vaping and creating laws restricting its selling and use, said Hoffecker. “I would ask anyone who is making the decision to vape to be aware that they might not know what they’re putting in their bodies.”

No one can be sure yet of the long-term effects of vaping. Studies at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University have already shown that some people that vape have had unsafe levels of lead, chromium, manganese, and/or nickel in their bodies. Also, a study from the NYU School Of Medicine found that nicotine from E-Cigarettes can cause cancer in mice. The long-term effects will be experienced and dealt with years from now, or they will not, no one can be sure yet.

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