Nobody believes that it’ll happen to them: hospitalization, collapsed lungs, medically-induced coma, or even death.
Vaping began to become popular amongst teens in 2017. Two years later there are over 800 vaping-related illnesses and at least 19 deaths in America as of recent.
“The reported cases are just the tip of the iceberg as many less severe cases don’t end up in the hospitals,” said Dr. Setu Vora, a pulmonary specialist in EL.
Many vaping products have been targeted to appeal to teenagers through flavors such as mango or mint. State legislatures across the country have begun to implement e-cigarette bans to counteract this.
For example, on Sept. 17, New York became the first state to fully enforce a statewide ban on most flavored nicotine products. On Sept. 24, Massachusetts issued a temporary ban on the sale of vaping products, including tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC pens.
E-cigarettes such as “JUUL” are equally as dangerous as THC vapes, called “dab pens.” According to Fox 6 News, two-thirds of those diagnosed with lung disease in Illinois and Wisconsin admitted to vaping with prefilled THC cartridges. The bigger picture this paints is that it’s likely that most who vape don’t know exactly what’s in their cartridges, creating a greater health risk than originally expected.
As to why some teenagers choose to continue vaping, the reasoning is unclear. Some have said their interest lies in the intrigue.
“I was just curious. I wanted to see what it felt like,” said one ELHS student who wished to remain anonymous. Addiction can occur quickly even from the first time vaping.
This student began vaping towards the end of eighth grade. They say they’ve tried to quit before, but they return to it when they get stressed.
This is usually how addiction starts. People think that trying something once will do no harm and they “will never get addicted,” however nicotine is a highly addictive chemical and is extremely difficult to quit.
Another student who remains anonymous knows some who vape and argues that students are more likely to begin vaping when they are peer pressured.
Junior Grace Vlaun, representative for CT on the Youth Advocacy Board for D.A.R.E., argues without a doubt that vaping is partially spread through peer pressure, as there is “no group of kids that hasn’t been impacted by the vaping epidemic…But there are also bigger factors that encourage it.”
Vlaun emphasised media advertisements directed towards young audiences, and how the flavors intice people to try vaping. According to the Youth Tobacco Survey, 82 percent of high schoolers who vape said they began because of the flavors.
At the minimum, vaping will increase risk of coughing, wheezing, and bring additional side effects such as difficulty breathing.