Vaping: the epidemic is spreading


Madi Fye

Health classes made anti-vaping posters that are in hallways, the cafeteria, and classrooms.

There are 1.47 million high school students enrolled in the United States. More than twenty percent of these students own a vaping device or roughly 210,000 high schoolers that are at the risk of a collapsed lung.

As of October 18th, 2019, there have been 33 vape-related deaths and 1,479 illnesses. Fortunately, no students in our school have been hospitalized. However, it is an issue; a big one.

Vaping has been around since as early as 2014; however, the Juul didn’t become popular until around 2016. Then, as the years went on, more companies began creating vape devices, which are now in the hands of students. It was supposed to be a safer alternative for adult smokers; however, it ended up being a death trap for teenagers.

With the sixty dollar purchase of a Juul comes two pods. Refills of packs of four cost a small loan of twenty dollars. These pods range in flavors from mint, tobacco, and crème brûlée. Just one of these pods is taking the same toll on your body as 20 cigarettes would. Some kids will go through an entire four-pack of pods a day, dialing in at 80 cigarettes.

Although taking one hit off of a Juul isn’t killing anyone, it’s the fact that students cannot go six hours of a school day without recharging their nicotine batteries. The school bathrooms, also known as “vape lounges,” are the most popular place to get your fix.

Mr. Paul Hetrick, transportation director and assistant principal, said that the school is taking all and any action necessary to limit the number of students vaping. “It’s an issue, and we are going to do whatever it takes for the safety of the students,” Hetrick said.

There has even been talk of vape detectors going into the bathrooms. A company called FlySense made smoke-alarm lookalike vape detectors. These can be placed on the walls of the school bathrooms, and they can detect chemicals in vapes such as THC and cigarette smoke. It detects the air quality and gives the administration a notice when one goes off.

As a school, we need to think about the decisions that we are making. By choosing to vape, we are not only hurting ourselves, but we are hurting the teachers and parents who care about us. Would a student from our school hospitalized be an eye-opener? No, because we should already have our eyes open.