The epidemic of vaping is spreading among teenagers
By Ryelee Stone
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been 1,604 cases of lung injury involving e-cigarettes and vaping. These cases have occurred from 49 states (all except Alaska), the District of Columbia, and one U.S. territory.
As of Oct. 19, 2019, there have been thirty-four confirmed deaths in 24 states.
Vaping is meant to be a “safer” alternative for people who smoke cigarettes, but research does not support that claim. Many teenagers started to vape and now are addicted.
The CDC recommends that no one should use e-cigarette, vaping products, and products that contain THC from off the streets. The CDC hopes to gain more information about why vaping is causing lung injuries and other negative effects.
During a wellness day held at the high school in late September, Red Lion Junior High nurse Nannette Schimek spoke about the effects of vaping. She is passionate about informing students of the dangers, including addiction and even death.
“Vaping companies make it easy for their products to fall into the wrong hands,” Mrs. Schimek said. “The various different flavors appeal to kids and can hook them for life.”
Her goal is to help kids not start vaping or helping them to stop vaping if they have already started. Mrs. Schimek is always open to have a conversation with students about this topic.
Unfortunately, there are students in high school who vape daily.
“I vape because that is how I deal with my anxiety,” said a local junior girl. “Sometimes it can even be a blessing.”
Students vape for a variety of reasons. Stress, family problems, schools, and more can all contribute to teenagers needing to cope in any way they can.
“Vaping is something that I’m so used to that I keep doing it,” another local freshman said. “Nothing negative has ever happened to me, so I will keep doing it.”
At the high school, Mrs. Brandy Shealer is a school social worker who is always open to having a conversation about vaping if anyone needs help.
“There’s a ton of programs coming right now that are working on targeting students in school who vape,” said Shealer. “We decided that we were going to form a psycho-educational group to inform students about vape products.”
Instead of offenders being suspended for their first offense, they talk to Mrs. Shealer and will be educated about the dangers of vaping. If students are found vaping again, then harsher offenses will be their consequences, according to Mrs Shealer.
“A ballpark estimate of how many students we catch vaping in school is four per week,” Assistant Principal Mr. Bill Rickard said. “Sometimes there will be six or even eight students who get caught vaping.”
Vaping is currently not FDA approved and is not safer than smoking cigarettes. If you or someone you know is struggling with quitting, call this hotline 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help.
“If students only learn one thing from what I say,” said nurse Mrs. Schimek. “I want them to understand that vaping is not safer than smoking cigarettes.”