The student voice of Perry High School

Commercialization of vape: what you didn’t know

Alcohol, cigarettes, weed, and now vape. All these have one thing in common; they were popular and taboo within our american culture then they became a “norm” for people. Kids began to get involved with it, but once they got bored, they moved onto the next new drug to do. Most recently e-cigarettes have begun to heighten in popularity especially among high schoolers; these students are even bringing their favorite new pastime onto the school campus.

Granting all this, when did the “vaping” and or e-cigerrette trend start? The Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association says it dates back all the way to 1979 when  one of the pioneers of computers, Phil Ray, fashioned the first commercialized variation on the e-cigarette with his physician Norman Jacobson. It inevitably failed but the term “vape” was introduced to the tobacco industry. Fast forward to 2010, vaping took off once again with “VapeFests” going on in major cities around the globe. Yet every trend comes with new unknown consequences and issues.

Multiple students have been caught vaping in their classrooms, in the bathroom, on the walk from the bus barn to the main campus, and in their car on the way to school. Officer J. Allen said, “we’ve had kids’ vape pens start going off in the middle of class in their backpacks.” But the fact is the legal age to buy e-cigarettes is 18, so how are they getting access to it? The same way people get access to drugs, through dealers or older friends. One student said they “have 18 year olds go to shops” to buy for them. In response to this illegal activity happening on school property, Principal Dan Serrano said when students get caught they will face a five day out of school suspension.

Another large issue with students bringing their vape pens onto school campus, whether they obtained it legally or not, is “there are people who are using them to smoke their dabs and that’s harder to distinguish a legal substance that a 18 year old can go out on the street and smoke legally verses an illegal drug,” as Principal Serrano stated.

Although the complications for vape extend off of campus, legalities are a factor that come into play, and they are changing all the time. On May 8, 2015, the Food and Drug Administration released regulations  deeming vape products as tobacco products. It details every step vape manufactures and retailers must take to abide by the law while distributing product. Some requirements are as simple as prohibition against free samples, sale to minors, and required nicotine warning on product package labels and advertisements. Under the FDA, vape shops are considered as a distributor of a variety of products to consumers including E.N.D.S (electronic nicotine delivery systems) devices, replacement pieces, hardware, pre-mixed flavored e-liquids, etc. They combine liquid nicotine, flavors, and/or other liquids at these shops for direct sale to consumers for use in E.N.D.S. But, these shops are not required to display the specific effects of these devices leaving many questions for the general public.

According to journalist Cari Nierenberg, not much is known about the long term effects of vaping since this product has only been on the U.S. market since 2008. It is a commonly known fact that one puff of a vapor or e-cigarette is less dangerous than a puff of a traditional cigarette. That doesn’t mean that there are no repercussions for using these products. Some vape juices contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug, along with with other harmful chemicals. Though vape pens were created to assist with cigarette users to quit smoking “ Although estimates vary, anywhere from 70 to 90 percent of e-cigarette users are “dual users,” meaning they continue to smoke regular cigarettes after they begin vaping” said by Nierenberg. She also explained that the drug is a cardiovascular stimulant, meaning that it could possibly worsen heart disease. Because vaping is still relatively new trend to the public many of the long term effects are unknown. Putting anything such as this in the public’s eye it revolutionary. It’ll cause a wave, and right now the public is riding it out

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