Crowning Juuls

Taking steps to end vaping epidemic

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Crowning Juuls

Art credit Magen McMillian

Art credit Magen McMillian

Art credit Magen McMillian

Art credit Magen McMillian

Magen McMillian, Staff Writer

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The crude memes taped to the bathroom walls. The smell of something strangely sweet coming from the last locked stall. The room looks hazy. In high schools across the country, this description of public restrooms remains common. Other school districts in Texas took a stand, creating more severe punishments against juuling and vaping; Richardson ISD, a large district south of Dallas, expelled 23 students caught with e-cigs. These students also faced arrest. Some schools added smoke detectors to the bathrooms, and some took it a step farther and banned hoodies. Decatur students, like many others across the nation, continue to find ways to get away with vaping in the restrooms, and some districts seem to ignore the growing problem.

Schools need to take steps to eliminate the chance of students juuling and vaping at school. Adults also need to teach the consequences of vaping to teenagers to help end the epidemic. Also, free programs such as CATCH My Breath and PAVe exist to educate teachers and students about the risks of using e-cigs.

Vapes started out as a way for those addicted to nicotine from cigarettes to cut themselves off and stop smoking, however, vaping simply caused another, and arguably worse, nicotine epidemic that appears to grow more quickly as time passes. Teenagers believe that juuls bring fewer consequences than cigarettes, but in reality, diseases come along with e-cigs, such as Popcorn Lung. The physical consequences of vaping and juuling remain uncommon knowledge, especially to young adults. And one wonders would more teens put down vaping altogether or possibly even never pick it up in the first place if they knew all of the health issues that arise from this? That’s where the education of health risks comes in. Classes, such as Health Science, need to use this opportunity to teach young adults how e-cigs affect the body. Show images of healthy lungs versus a smoker or vaper’s lung, confessions of former vapers, testimonies from the ever-growing number of families of those who died due to this rising epidemic.

Along with the physical consequences comes the authoritative consequences. According to the Public Health Law Center, using e-cigarettes under the age of 21 or smoking on campus breaks the law. Students face arrest if caught with e-cigs on a school campus and/or under the age of 21.

Resources like CATCH My Breath and PAVe teaches parents, students, and teachers about the consequences of vaping. Both are free of charge and available to the public. We need to utilize these programs to educate people on the health risks of using e-cigs during advisory or Health Science classes.

Another school, Crowley High School, put their foot down on drug-use on their volleyball team by forfeiting their game. The girls on the volleyball team ran rampant with vaping. Recently, the principal decided to cancel their game against Rocky Ford on September 12.

Here, any kid caught with a juul or vape gets five days of In School Suspension and an SRO intervention where they appear in court. On the second offense, they get ten days of ISS and another SRO intervention. After the third time, they get twenty-five days of DAEP. Each time they get caught, they get their e-cig taken up, and an increase in consequences.

Decatur’s consequences compared to other schools such as Richardson and Crowley, prove that we only just started scratching the surface to combat the rising epidemic that stems from juuling and vaping. We need to consider harsher punishments for breaking this law, and even upping the ante with repeated violations, considering the legalities now at play with this contraband.

E-cig usage rises as teenagers get their hands on the products meant to end addiction. Decatur and schools everywhere need to crack down on these stricter laws as much as possible for teenagers’ own good if they themselves allow this movement to spiral out of control.

 

Work Cited

“Public Health Law Center.” E-Cigarette  Regulations – Texas, Public Health Law Center, 15 June 2019, https://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/resources/us-e-cigarette-regulations-50-state-review/tx.

Howerton, Matt. “Richardson ISD Confiscated 200 e-Cigs, Expelled 23 Students in Vaping Cases Last School Year.” KVUE, KVUE ABC, 29 Aug. 2019, https://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/richardson-isd-confiscated-200-e-cigs-expelled-23-students-in-vaping-cases-last-school-year/287-4d6e508d-eeb8-49b0-b0e4-1fb5c0c4d4e7.

“Parent Toolkit.” Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes, PAVe, https://www.parentsagainstvaping.org/parent-toolkit.

“E-Cigarette Prevention.” CATCH, Creativepickle, https://catchinfo.org/modules/e-cigarettes/.

 

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