Vaping is a Real Danger for Students

Vaping is a Real Danger for Students

By Sarah Ramirez, Staff Writer

Vaping in high schools has become an increasingly worrying trend, with many young students succumbing to its allure. On the surface, it might seem like a harmless pastime, but this could not be further from the truth. Aside from potential addiction and health issues, vaping can lead to expulsion for any student caught possessing or using such products on campus grounds. And this is not a foreign issue outside of the school. Instead it’s actually incredibly common here, happening everywhere you look, in the bathroom, gym locker rooms, lunch rooms, and even classrooms. 

“I think there’s been so much negative campaigning for cigarettes and cigars that it’s not appealing to younger audiences, also a large amount of education about it, I remember students saying that their water vapor when it is obviously all chemicals, it’s marketed with the flavors and packaging and devices, there are being manipulated and don’t realize,” said Mrs. King, the Wayne Hills Student Assistance Counselor. 

Therefore, it’s important to consider the serious consequences before giving in to temptation. Ultimately, teenagers should arm themselves with knowledge of the risks associated with vaping and think twice before engaging in activities that put them at risk, As well as the apparent stigma with getting help for these addictions and many teens believe that they can just quit whenever they feel fit. But when the time comes to find that they are actually trapped in this cycle of addiction. 

Two students, a freshman and a senior who did not want their names revealed out of concerns about getting in trouble with school administration shared their thoughts about vaping.

It’s just something that I do, I don’t see it as a bad thing really because it helped me destress and focus a lot,” said the freshman. In contrast, the senior said, “ I think it’s one of the worst things that I’ve done. everybody thinks that bad things are something that happens to only them, so it snagged people into it with the promise of some peace. I think it should be banned outright.”

The senior, who struggled through withdrawals and thought the exact same thing as the freshman, with time has a completely different view because of their experiences with nicotine. This is no surprise as Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control. Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections – or synapses – are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains.

And as vaping gets more popular in the school system the more difficult it becomes to find quality information on the subject as it is clouded with judgment from the people who do it. The National Youth Tobacco Survey used a web-based survey in 2021 and 2022, with half of the students taking it in school in 2021 and nearly all taking it from school in spring 2022. This year, 14 percent of high school students and 3 percent of middle school students report that they had vaped in the past 30 days; 14.1% (2.14 million) of high school students and 3.3% (380,000) of middle school students reported current e-cigarette use”

But what about the people they are trying to hide it from? what does the school system feel about the increased vaping rate inside the school system? As more than a quarter (27.6%) of current youth e-cigarette users use an e-cigarette product every day.

Mrs. King, the student assistance counselor, said, I think it’s important to know that there is a change in our drug and alcohol policy. It used to be that if students were caught in the process of smoking they were sent for a screen, but now you are automatically suspended for FIVE days and are sent to a drug test if you are caught near or are in possession of one.”

Mrs. King encouraged students to recognize the real risks of vaping.

It’s frustrating as people don’t understand the dangers that they are in, especially the ones with marijuana in them., there is a vast range of things that we see including hallucinations, vomiting, cardiac arrest. It’s incredibly  illegal, you never know how your body is going to react to the things you put on their bodies.”