Vaping. It’s literally one of the biggest topics in our society right now, with stories about it in the news every day.
A few years ago, society seemed to tell us it was safe and sustainable for people who wanted to quit smoking real tobacco cigarettes. Who would’ve known that in reality, it would end up possibly being even more dangerous than traditional cigarettes?
One might think only adults vape, but that is wrong. Dead wrong. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 37 percent of U.S. high school seniors vaped in the past year; that is up 9 percent over the previous year. The National Center for Health Research reports that by November 2019, there were 39 deaths and more than 2,000 vaping-related illnesses reported. And studies from many organizations, including the American Lung Association, state that kids younger and younger are trying vaping products.
“Some kids do not know that the Juul pods are deadly,” said Mrs. McCauley, a physical education and health teacher at Wilby High School.
So many unknowns
McCauley and other teachers and staff at Wilby are working to make sure students know the dangers of vaping.
She said some people who want to stop smoking end up vaping or end up smoking e-cigarettes so that they have less nicotine, and some people like young kids do it to get high or feel “cool.” But, she said, they don’t know the dangers that come with it.
Mrs. McCauley shows her health students videos of simulators that show what enters your lungs and shows the short-term effects it has on your health.
“We don’t know the long-term effects yet because it is a new product,” she said, adding that she would strongly recommend NOT vaping or smoking any type of tobacco product.
What are the dangers we know about?
Vaping can cause lung cancer and can be very addictive. Vaping can also cause liver disease, cardiovascular disease and asthma, according to the CDC.
The CDC says people can easily get addicted to the nicotine ingredients just as much as they can get addicted to tobacco from a cigarette.
Some other side effects to vaping are :
Chest pain (breathing issues)
Increased blood pressure//heart rate
Vomiting & nausea
Other potential problems
Carrying around a vape stick is like carrying around a fire cracker. The Juul pod that people carry around in their pockets with the vaping stick can explode in their pockets, which has happened in several cases around the country, according to stories in reputable news organizations around the world. The liquid seeps through clothing and can cause second-degree burns to the skin. It can be very deadly, but most students and or adults don’t think about the seriousness that comes with it. The cause of these explosions is overcharging the battery for long periods of time or incorrectly storing it, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Signs that someone may be vaping are: desire for salty foods, increased thirst, increased irritability or mood changes due to addiction.
People who vape also tend to cut back on caffeine or get nosebleeds. Also, just because vaping doesn’t smell like tobacco, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a scent. You might detect a sweet scent on clothing if someone is vaping, according to the American Lung Association.
Does it happen here?
It is unclear just how many high school students vape at Wilby.
Students interviewed by the Emerald had mixed opinions about whether it is a major problem here.
Several students who didn’t want their names used for this article said they believe it is a prevalent issue. Others, like juniors Ethan Veras and Maya Conyers, said they don’t believe it’s as big of a problem as it is in other schools or communities.
“I think it’s bigger in other schools, and I see it a lot on social media but not at school,” Veras said.
Conyers said she believes the diverse culture at Wilby, which includes many Hispanic and African American students, contributes to a small population of students who vape.
“I feel like it’s more of a thing in white culture, so you don’t see it too much here,” Conyers said.
Let us know what you think
Do you think vaping is a major issue at Wilby? Take the Emerald Poll at the top of this story.
To Get Help
Click on this link to find out how to get help if you believe you have an issue with vaping.