Vaping is a rising issue all over the world and has especially effected the teenage population. In 2017 there were over 2.1 million middle school and high school papers and vaping companies are aware of this. Vapes are becoming more and more sleek as firms mimic the same allure that draws people to iPhones (childmind.org). Of course the variety of sweet flavors that are available are an added reason why kids enjoy vaping products but it doesn’t tell the whole story. According to polling there are 3 main reasons that teens vape and they are as follow: 1. a friend or family member vapes, 2. There are an abundance of flavors, 3. The belief that vaping is less dangerous than cigarettes (truthinitiative.org). There is something clearly missing from this list and it resides somewhere in between these statements. What is really at the core of why teens are vaping?
The fact that vaping is bad for you health has been exposed time and time again and recently there have even been some deaths caused by vaping. Vaping increases your likelihood of addiction in the future, weakens your immune system, causes a lack of focus in addicted teens, and has very similar effects on your cardiovascular system that cigarettes do. Vaping also increases the likelihood that you will pick up smoking in the future.
This video by John Hopkins University expands on the information, and some of the risks associated with Vaping. https://www.youtube.com/watchtime_continue=65&v=9kpLBA65LlY&feature=emb_title
Because my school like most schools in this day and age has had its fair share of issues with vaping and because they were unprepared the solutions seem to do more harm than good. I want to help my peers who are struggling with addiction and I think if it is caught early in middle school and high school kids can be set up with healthy ways of dealing with their issues and won’t have to turn to substances in the future. I would hope that my audience is both people who are most susceptible to vaping like students and educators. I would like people to know the risks and have access to help and solutions to their struggles.
Usually the first step in any issue getting better is awareness. As it is I think there has been a lot of awareness built up about the negative effects of vaping and recently the FDA has even banned specific vapes. Now I think it is time to create a blueprint for how people can deal with their addictions and look into why they are picking up devices in the first place so that preventative measures can be made.
I conducted an anonymous interview with one of my peers from school who is a vaper in order to get an understanding of why teens are really vaping.
Q. Why do you vape ?
A. It helps me with stress and anxiety and it gives me something to do
Q. Do you ever vape at school?
A. All the time
Q. How often?
A. Every break and usually once a class
Q. Do you think you would be able to quit?
A. I’ve tried a few times but I don’t see how I would. As long as I have my piece (vaping device) with me I’m gonna use it and I’m not just gonna give it away.
Q. Why do you vape at school?
A. Why wouldn’t I ? school’s the worst, I hate being there and I need something to get me through the day, I actually physically feel like a need a fix (nicotine) more when I’m at school than anywhere else, like I could even go a few days without getting buzzed (the feeling produced by nicotine) if i was just at home.
We continued to talk a little more after that but I think what he said at the end was at the heart of the issue. Everyone has a different experience in school some people love it, some people hate it, but there is a really sad reality that we have to come to terms with, which is that for a lot of people school can be a persons primary source of stress and after hearing what my peer had to say I started thinking maybe we have been looking at the wrong thing when it comes to issues like vaping and how to tackle them. There has already been a mass banning of vaping products and flavors but we have to keep in mind that these teens are dealing with serious addictions with no resources to help them. Firms not selling certain flavors and schools threatening expulsion or suspension does not solve the issues of struggling teens. The solutions currently in place help save everyone from scrutiny because they can state that they’re “doing something” but in reality does nothing to help the people that actually need it. If for some students, school is such a hardship that it is a trigger for them to act out and or seek refuge in substances then I think that schools should reevaluate their policies. As of right now schools seem like the enemy to a lot of people who are struggling with addictions which is a shame because there is an opportunity for correction that schools can provide. It is where students spend most of their day so the influence a school can have should not be underestimated. If schools took a stance of rehabilitation over punishment, students might feel more comfortable confiding in counselors and teachers, and the ability for them to find avenues that lead to them quitting vaping or never picking up a vape in the first place would grow exponentially.
Thank you for looking through my presentation I hope you learned something. If you could answer this quick 3 question survey on what you thought about the issue and solutions, that would be much appreciated.