The dangers of vaping

Genesis Gurnsey, staff reporter

The use of vape pens, mods and e-cigarettes are making headlines every day in the world. Lots of kids start vaping just because they think it will make them “cool.” Sorry, but the studies are in: vaping can kill you.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 2,172 cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury have been reported as of November 13, from 49 states, all except for Alaska, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Out of these injuries, 42 deaths have been confirmed in 24 states and the District of Columbia.

Until now very few statistics have been available about vaping, and there were no recorded deaths caused by vaping in Colorado. But that has changed. On October 24, the vape-related death from an unknown Denver 18-year-old may be the first in Colorado.

For several years, vaping has been sold to and targeted the younger generation. For the students who don’t know what an e-cigarette is, bless your soul. 

An e-cigarette is a battery-operated device that heats the flavored juice into an aerosol that the user inhales. Nicotine juices are being bought by younger people because of their flavors, which include fruity, dessert, watermelon blast, strawberry lemonade, juicy red apple, Hawaiian, mango twist, cool mint, and blue raspberry.

But not only do these pods contain flavor, they also contain nicotine and many more additives. And in case you didn’t know already; statistics show that if you vape there is a 20.5 percent chance you will end up smoking cigarettes. Some students may deny that and say tobacco is disgusting, but little did they know, the same nicotine they are inhaling in vape is also found comes from tobacco.

Another fun fact that makes vaping dangerous for teens is that their brains continue to grow until age 25, but nicotine stunts that brain growth and can affect kids in so many different ways. It can cause you to become addicted. School Counselor Kelly Koachaver says, “We are now calling it an Epidemic.” Anyone can become addicted, there is no age limit, although, ages 20 and under are more likely to become addicted faster. E-cigarettes are very popular with young people. 

Their use has grown dramatically in the last two years. From 2017 to 2019, the shares who had done so increased among 12th graders which went from 11 to 25 percent, 10th graders which went from 8 to 20 percent and then eighth graders, which went from 4 to 9 percent. Today, more high school students use e-cigarettes more than actual cigarettes.

“The students are aware of the dangers of vaping but they just won’t care until it happens to someone close to them or even until it happens to them,” says EHS social studies teacher, Britany Turnbull. A local high school vaper would agree that the message has been mixed and that makes the issue confusing. “There has been research proving that it is bad for you, but there’s also research proving it is not bad for you,” he says.

Some students feel that they are safe and free from addiction because they aren’t using e-cigarettes with THC, the chemical found in marijuana don’t have THC. The reality is, the majority of those 1,080 injuries and 18 deaths were not caused by THC.

“The only reason people are getting sick is because they don’t know what they’re doing.” says a local high school student who vapes. “I think it is user error because the only reason they’re getting sick is because they’re using bad equipment. Their pods are filled with garbage and they are using on-brand coils. You still have to be safe when using it, I don’t think it’s harmful.”

Because of all the negative national attention and accusations of targeting kids, Juul has also discontinued selling their flavored pods. This is because they are aware that vaping is making the users sick and is incredibly dangerous for people. This has come from the Juul company itself. There is also another vape company that will also be removing their flavored pods, they claim they will stop distributing the flavored pods once they have sold out at the locations that sell it. 

“I think vaping is a huge issue because it’s making people sick, without them realizing it, and I think it’s getting worse,” says Eaton’s theater teacher, Kendra Hixion, “The juniors or sophomores are the worst about vaping. They’re the ones I’ve had the most issues with.”

Hixon thinks those who vape will stop vaping and possibly go to something worse, “With a lot of issues being found with vaping so a lot of people are leaving the vaping and going to cigarettes.” 

Once vaping goes out, those who were addicted will turn to cigarettes to get their nicotine buzz, cigarettes give people cancer and nobody wants that. Whether you deny it or not, our generation and society is spiraling out of control with vaping.