A Look Into Vaping

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It is no secret that vaping has become, not only an epidemic among teenagers but also a culture. Teens have normalized using nicotine as a stress reliever, at the cost of their health. We, as students of Ball High, all know the contributors to this culture, like walking into the bathroom and seeing multiple pairs of feet in one stall. We have all heard the word “fein,” meaning to intensely crave a substance. As teenagers, we have adapted to a society where addiction is okay in our eyes. But at what point will we realize there are no benefits to using our nicotine devices as a means to relax. Vaping is not an epidemic; the miseducation of vaping is the issue affecting us all.

 

This past week Ball High hosted a vaping summit with other schools in the area to discuss what can be done to prevent teens from resorting to nicotine to calm themselves. There were many speakers there, including police officers, a teen health center doctor, Mr. Pillar, and Mr. Muse. They all spoke on what vaping has done to our school, regarding health, discipline, and legal issues. Mr. Muse even had a show and tell of many of the vaping products he has confiscated over the years, like Juuls, Mods, and Puff Bars. Ball High also organized a student panel where I, and seven other students, discussed our experience with vaping and its effects. We were asked many questions by school administrators like, “Why do you do it?” “How were you introduced to it?” and “What will it take for you to stop?” These questions were all asked in an attempt for the school administration to figure out how to approach the issue. In the end, everyone came to a common reality that students need to be further educated on vaping, rather than only being strictly punished.

 

Although vaping is most popular for teenagers, many of them would be surprised by how much they don’t know about the subject. When all the students participating in the student panel arrived at the summit, including me, we thought that most of the day would be spent informing adults on vaping. In actuality, we learned so much more on the topic that we had no idea about. There is much misunderstanding about vaping. There’s a common belief among teenagers is that it is better for you than smoking cigarettes, when in fact it is just as bad, if not worse. We actually learned that one Juul pod is equivalent to an entire pack of cigarettes, which shocked us all. This statistic supported the idea that education should be prioritized over discipline, regarding vaping. It is ironic that students are disgusted by cigarette smoking, but think vaping is just fine, despite them both being incredibly unhealthy.

 

Is vaping really worth our health? Is it worth our lives? There have been over 52 cases of death in the U.S. due to a vaping related illness, one of them being from Galveston. There are no long term studies on the effects of vaping, so who really knows how much worse our health can get, compared to what we already see. Asthma, tooth decay, and stress; all linked to our Juuls and Puff bars we keep hidden. In our pockets, we hold a device that has no benefits for our life. In our pockets, we hold the potential for school discipline, poor grades, a legal record, health issues, and maybe even death. In our pockets, we hold our future. Is vaping worth that?

Ball High students discussing the dangers of vaping.