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Vape Vacuum: Sucking Students Into Bad Habits

Holly Hatcher, Main News Writer

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Smoking is something that has been prominent for a very long time, but people are starting to smoke less and less. Many teenagers are falling away from it, understanding the detrimental effects it can have on one’s health and realizing that any enjoyment gotten out of smoking is not worth the consequences it causes.

Recently, however, a new trend has risen among teenagers: vaping. Vaping is the use of electronic cigarettes, where a liquid is heated inside the device and then the vapor produced is inhaled by the user. Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, do not contain tobacco, and so it is a common belief that vaping is nowhere near as dangerous as smoking. This is wrong.

As teenagers grow up, they have many opportunities to try new things, including drugs. There is a natural curiosity to try new things as a student grows up, and many other factors can come into play as well. Some sources say that students may start smoking or doing other drugs if their parents or guardians do it, if peer pressure exists or upperclassmen seen as “cool” do drugs, to rebel against the rules and show their independence, if they believe it’s popular and will make them liked, or likewise. As vaping becomes more popular, students are beginning to do it, potentially because of these reasons and more. Many of them don’t realize that vaping can be just as bad for one’s health as smoking.

First, many e-cigs contain highly addictive nicotine like regular cigarettes do, so even a few inhales of the vapor can cause a dangerous addiction. Nicotine is also very damaging to the developing brain of a teenager. At high doses, nicotine can even be lethal. Only 30 to 60 mg of the liquid could kill an adult if absorbed through the skin or ingested. Nicotine isn’t the sole reason e-cigs are dangerous, even the e-cigs without nicotine have negative health effects.

Many substances found in e-cigs other than nicotine have harmful effects on the human body. Certain metals and chemicals found in the liquid used to vape are very damaging to the lungs. In scientific studies, it was discovered that lung cells became inflamed, started reproducing at irregular rates, or were killed when in contact with e-cig vapor. The drug also makes it hard for lung cells to repair themselves and to block foreign and harmful materials. Toxic metals from the heating device within the e-cig such as manganese, chromium, and nickel can also contaminate the liquid in e-cigs, making it even more disadvantageous. To add to these dangers, different aspects of vaping may also cause cancer, chronic bronchitis, gum disease, tooth loss, bleeding sores in the mouth or throat, a chronic cough called “smoker’s cough”, and may make it harder for your body cells to do things such as heal and repair wounds.

The side effects of vape listed above have recently been found by scientists. E-cigs originally went to the shelves of stores without much research as to their health effects, so a substance that still has some unknown effects is available to many. They were initially intended to be used by smokers trying to get out of their addiction by turning away from tobacco, not as something people should try instead of smoking. E-cigs are still drugs, and vaping is not a safer alternative to smoking. As scientists continue to research the unknown health effects of vaping, they continue to discover more and more cons to the action. It is a good thing to move away from tobacco, cigarettes, and other drugs. Many teenagers have been taught about the dangers of traditional drugs their whole lives, but vaping is just as dangerous and should not be done with the mindset that it is safer or better. There are many other consequences apart from declining longevity and health. Doing any form of drugs can affect how well someone does in school, what he or she can and can’t participate in, the types of jobs available to him or her, and more. Robin Williams once said on the subject, “If you need booze or drugs to enjoy your life to the fullest, then you’re doing it wrong.”

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