The Lows of Addiction

Different types of vaping devices.

Source: Flickr

Different types of vaping devices.

Dana Kim and Nathan Otazu

Vaping, or e-cigarettes, became a booming product in years prior as misconceptions about the harmful device spread. Unfortunately, some students have followed this “trend” and used these products, sometimes even on school campuses.

Contrary to traditional cigarettes, people believe that vaping is safe and harmless. According to Escape the Vape, “Vaping is the act of inhaling aerosolized liquid from a device, sometimes called a vape pen or an e-cigarette. The device is filled with vape liquid, it heats up, the liquid is aerosolized into millions of tiny droplets, and then inhaled.” Misconceptions arise as vape companies refer to the liquid as “juice,” which makes it appear harmless. In addition, the liquid comes in a variety of flavors, making it seem more adolescent-friendly.

Although it is illegal for someone under the age of 21 to buy tobacco, e-cigarettes and vaping products, many students have acquired and started using these devices. Vape devices are sometimes disguised as school supplies making them easier to conceal from parents, teachers and school staff members. These disguises include USB drives, hoodie strings and pens. It also leaves minimal odor making it more difficult to detect.

Even though it may seem harmless and interesting to some, vaping is not safe. The vaping liquid contains “a mixture of highly addictive nicotine, potentially harmful chemicals, and other additives that can damage your body.” Since manufacturers are not required to report e-cigarettes ingredients, people don’t really know the exact chemicals that are in them. However, stated by Northwestern Medicine, we do know, “Nicotine mixed with a developing brain can lead to addiction, reduced impulse control, and mood disorders. Nicotine also negatively impacts the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for attention, decision-making, judgment, and planning.” In addition, studies show that the amount of nicotine in one JUUL cartridge is equal to the amount of nicotine in a whole pack of cigarettes. The impact of this chemical can be drastic to people’s health, especially to young and developing minds. Something that may seem insignificant at this moment can negatively affect your health as the years pass.

An anonymous interviewee shared the dangers of vaping through their own experience by stating, “Just don’t do it. It might feel good at first, but as long as you start, you’ll just gradually get worse. That’s what happened to me. I began to get sick, my grades plummeted and I didn’t feel like the same person. I’ll always regret [vaping].”

Adults want to help students realize the dangers of vaping and keep them safe. In order to ensure and help spread the message that vapes are not safe, there are consequences at McAuliffe Middle School. Any possession of illegal substances, including vape devices, is a violation of the California Education Code. Violating this rule can cause students to be suspended and to have to take project intervention classes for about three to five days. In other cases, people might go on behavior contracts or the offense might negatively impact their inter-district permits.

McAuliffe’s assistant principal, Mrs. Vienna, shared some insight on this topic, “Understanding the ‘why’ you’re choosing to do those things and fixing that problem [is important]. What are you trying to run away from? What’s causing your stress? Let’s try to deal with it in a healthy way and not by putting chemicals in your body.”

Vaping is an unsafe method of dealing with stress, fitting in, or trying to impress your peers and look cool. It is dangerous and can lead to possibly life-threatening health problems. Vaping is never a beneficial option; stay safe.