Inhale, Exhale

Addressing the current problem of vaping

Photo courtesy of Taryn Holmes

Photo courtesy of Taryn Holmes

Taryn Holmes, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

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Historically, people often smoked both habitually and recreationally, unaware cancer and other health problems resulted from the action. Although the general public now knows these facts, many still choose to appease their tobacco addiction through smoking. Once hooked on the powerful drugs within the cigarettes and other smoking devices, many people find it hard to quit once they start.

One attempted solution to this addiction comes from the creation of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers. These handheld devices hold sometimes flavored liquid, made up of about a third of the nicotine found in traditional cigarettes. The liquid heats, generating an aerosol in the form of a vapor which an individual inhales. The vapor produced assisted in coining the common term for smoking an electronic cigarette, “vaping”.

People prefer to believe that by vaping instead of smoking, they choose a healthier, safer alternative. Although in all technicality, vaping provides a safer option, of course, “safer” differs from actually safe. Research studies argue that the nicotine produced through vaping causes heavier addiction than drugs like heroin or cocaine. In addition, the vapor producing liquid often contains flavored chemicals that put a person’s health at risk.

One study discovered a chemical called diacetyl in the majority of electronic cigarettes tested. This chemical, added merely to provide flavor, proves to lead to a respiratory disease commonly referred to as “popcorn lung”. Other health issues linked to the use of vapes include lung irritation and increased asthma. Besides the provided liquid, many people choose to vape other drugs like alcohol and marijuana. Reports divulge into the fact that vapes lead to alcohol poisoning faster than just drinking alcohol. Additional studies prove that students who vape often turn to traditional smoking later in life.

Vaping in high schools and among teenagers slowly increases as a prominent issue. Recent cases within multiple schools, for example, include catching students vaping while at school, resulting in suspension from certain activities and days of ISS [Independent School Suspension]. Administrators attempt to discourage vaping by enforcing certain disciplinary measures. According to administration, the first instance of transgression results in confiscation of the electronic cigarette and five days of ISS. Further incidents result in increased days of ISS and eventually days of DAEP [Disciplinary Alternative Education Program]. In fact, some schools enforce the rules by sending a student caught with a vape directly to twenty-five days of DAEP. Although these consequences warn against students who vape, many continue to smoke these electronic cigarettes at home and at school.

A question still remains, “why bother vaping at all, with all the negative outcomes that ensue?” From answers of acting cool to a hard family life, explanations for this behavior never end. Through general student observation, the cause seems to stem from a propensity to rebel. With current phrases such as ‘YOLO’, students feel the need to break rules and go against

general standards. In fact, the number of students who vape drastically outnumbers the adults attempting to use vapes in order to quit smoking.

No matter the reasoning behind the action, negative outcomes still linger. Older generations suffered from breaking free from the vice of smoking after research years later revealed all of the dangers. As vaping grows in popularity, many worry about the outcome once the current generation realizes the health dangers of vapes.

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