The student voice of Perry High School
Illustration of a person vaping, representing the vast majority that contributes in this trend.

Illustration of a person vaping, representing the vast majority that contributes in this trend.

Sydney Wolfe

Sydney Wolfe

Illustration of a person vaping, representing the vast majority that contributes in this trend.

Vaping becoming more popular among teens

As vaping becomes popular on campus, students are not aware of consequences.

As vaping becomes the trendiest gateway to nicotine and marijuana products, teenagers have the option to choose flavors and decorate their vape pens to their liking. However, many are not aware of the physical consequences that result from it.

Although cigarette smoking among teens is at an all-time low, the use of vape pens and e-cigs has increased exponentially, leaving many wondering about the long-term effects.

In a 2015 discussion on social media, The New England Journal of Medicine tweeted, “Chemical analysis of e-cigs’ vapor show high levels of formaldehyde.” They warned that, “Authors project higher cancer risk than smoking.”

Formaldehyde is a dangerous chemical that, with enough exposure, has been classified as cancerous by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This chemical is found in household items such as disinfectant, and also used as a preservative in mortuaries.

As the industry grows, it does not fail to branch out to teens and the generations to come. A study done by the CDC reveals that more than 3 million teenagers used e-cigarettes in 2015.

In fact, in 2014, a one year old died in New York from nicotine exposure. Since then, Congress has not taken much initiative to resolve the issue.

Only three states, New York, New Jersey, and North Dakota, have banned the use of vape pens, but there is legislation processing in several others against vaping.

From the Flipside parking lot to time between class periods, students regularly see their peers vaping on campus, particularly in the parking lots. However, they tend to get away with it.

Assistant principal Jennifer Burks stated that only three students have been caught this school year.

Principal Dan Serrano explained, “[Vaping] happens, it’s not uncommon to suspend a student for vaping on campus, or in a classroom.” Later, Serrano expressed, “I think kids are probably are pretty good at hiding it, but we catch a lot of them.”

Many students take part in the after-school FlipSide ritual. Security guards “patrol” the site, and although FlipSide is an off-campus site, radical and disruptive use can cause suspension.

When asked, Serrano explained how he was unaware of vaping at FlipSide. “I don’t believe we’ve disciplined anyone at FlipSide, yet.” He continues, “If the business owners over there start complaining yeah. It’s a little bit of a gray line, cause it’s private property.”

While some students choose not to take part in vaping, others feel differently. One anonymous student explained how vaping can help with stress. However, stress can actually be increased by cigarette or vape use in the long run. Another student described how although it caused difficulty for their lungs, vaping is “always around” so they do it on occasion with friends.

Thirty-nine percent of students polled indicated that they have vaped before. Though many are unaware of its effects, others argue that it can be beneficial to their personal being.

Junior Matthew Corti expressed his opposition by stating, “I think it’s dumb and there’s no point in doing it.”

As the controversy between the misuse of vaping continues on-and-off campus, many students seem as if they do not care if their peers participate in the activity.

However, through the development of vape, future generations are also being influenced. Companies try to reel their viewer in, specifically teens, to get them addicted so they invest more time and money into their product.

This is changing the drug industry and has the power to change regulations in and out of the school system. As of today, the student handbook has not been updated with regulation for use of these items, such as vape, Juuls, or e-cigs.

A professional will visit the campus to “educate the teachers on what to look for” on July 18th before the 2017-2018 school year, according to Serrano. A similar assembly will be held for parents to inform them about similar issues as well.

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