Vaping Poses New Health Risks in High Schools
by Matthew Ruiz, George Holani, Elliston Ospina, and Jake Newman
“Vaping in general is a major health risk to teens and young adults for brain development, addiction, and behavioral risks.”
Teenage vaping of nicotine and marijuana can have long-term effects on the brain. When teens and young adults expose their brain to these substances, they are susceptible to side effects that include addiction, mood changes, and permanent lowering of impulse control.
Nicotine can also lead to addictions with more advanced tobacco products. Some evidence suggests that E-Cigarette use is linked to alcohol use and other substance use, such as marijuana.
According to The Guardian, Americans currently spend around $40 billion a year on legal and black market marijuana.
This intake is almost certain to increase, as marijuana becomes easier to access and is declared legal in more states across America. The “pot industry” continues to market marijuana as compatible with a healthy and relaxing adult life.
Though that is still up for medical debate, the same certainly is not true for middle and high schoolers.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 53 percent of people who have used marijuana began smoking between the ages of 12 and 17. Even more worrisome, 21 percent of high school students have reported marijuana use in the past 30 days.
This is extremely problematic as a lot of youth are not aware of the negative impact of marijuana on the teenage brain.
Marijuana is associated with the impairment of many brain functions. Teens develop weak memory recollection, difficulty understanding concepts and school subjects, and lower life satisfaction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The use of marijuana has been consistently increasing over the past few years as it has reached the highest point in the past thirty years according the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. This drastic increase in use is a result of extreme accessibility. Marijuana now comes in a multitude of forms such as: pens, vapes, and natural grown herb.
With the emergence of smoking in general, vaping, both of nicotine and marijuana, has become a major issue across high schools in America and at St. John Bosco.
“[Vaping nicotine] was the same as patches and chewing gum that they would use to get smokers off of cigarettes and on a healthier plan with vaping,” says English teacher and former Dean of Students Mr. Derek Fernando.
Mr. Fernando supported vaping devices when they first came out, but has since determined that they influenced the wrong culture of teens.
“There’s a problem with how they market the devices and vaping in general,” argues Mr. Fernando.
Teens and young adults who vape see it as a fun thing to do, and ultimately aren’t prepared for the health effects and chemical changes to their body in the long and short term.
“The benefits of vaping aren’t meant to help people under the age of 25,” said Mr. Fernando.
Getting caught vaping is like getting pulled over for speeding or getting caught drinking underage, as there are consequences and certain fees you have to pay.
“I have not yet caught anyone in the act of vaping [at Bosco], but I have caught some students with the vaping paraphernalia on them,” Fernando said. “I have to put myself in the parents [of students] shoes and see how they feel about their son or daughter vaping and ask, why are they doing this to there body?” he said when speaking about students vaping at Bosco.
School President Dennis Mulhaupt obviously doesn’t condone vaping of E-cigarettes or marijuana. His view is that, when in school, students are responsible for working hard and being responsible, not thinking about having to vape.
“It’s a socially cool thing to do,” said Mulhaupt. “We need to educate our students and show them why [vaping] is a bad thing. If students choose to vape on campus, it’s not permitted and disciplinary actions will be taken against them.”
Junior ASB member and student-athlete Nathaniel Quigg has a strong viewpoint on vaping within our school as well as outside of school.
“Vaping isn’t as harmful as smoking or doing marijuana, Vicodin, or Methamphetamine, but it still affects students regarding their learning capabilities and mental state,” Quigg claims.
Two anonymous seniors who play a sport and vaped at the same time possessed a negative stance on vaping.
“Vaping affected my studying and changed the way I think. It made me lazy and encouraged me to not do any homework,” said one senior, a single-sport athlete. “Vaping is a bad thing, but we all do things that aren’t good for us here and there.”
He says most students are influenced by their friends to vape, and in turn over time they become addicted. Sophomore and junior year this senior was addicted to vaping, and all because of some close friends who influenced him to do it at first.
“I don’t do it like I used to because I learned to grow,” said the senior of his situation now.
The second anonymous senior is a multi-sport athlete at Bosco, who also had a negative stance on vaping. Some of his views were similar to the first anonymous senior but possessed a different perspective.
“Vaping takes time away from school and everything I do in general. Obviously vaping isn’t healthy because it prevents our bodies from developing due to the amount of nicotine we inhale smoking it,” said the senior.
Vaping affects him in sports because it’s harder for athletes to breathe because they have bad lungs. The senior mentioned that the only reason he vaped was because he thought it was cool, but learned to stop and became more focused on his academics and sports.
All of the new technology poses a problem in itself as people may not be aware of what they are ingesting in their body. Increases in lung issues such as popcorn lung, a disease where holes develop in the alveoli in your lungs, have been on the rise.
Combining both the accessibility and the negligence of the product in a present-day problem. Our youth are harming themselves without knowing the outcome with little to no accountability.
Vaping and smoking in general is a growing issue across America for all high school students and needs to be prevented before serious issues stem from it. We can start here at St. John Bosco High School by taking necessary actions and helping those that vape, stop.