Vaping: The Real Cost
In 2014 the FDA launched the “The real cost” ad campaign hoping to educate teens on the negative effects of smoking. Ever since then, “Annual smoking-related health care costs in Florida decreased 15 percent from 2006 to 2015 as a result of fewer adults smoking,” according to the FDA. This was an incredible achievement in the state of Florida but now the vaping craze has taken its place. Teens everywhere in the U.S. are illegally buying and taking these vapes to school and this is having negative effects on teens everywhere.
What are the dangers of vaping?
A lot of students don’t realize the dangers and effects of vaping. A vape contains a lot of harmful chemicals that can lead to health issues and effects such as “Popcorn lung”, lung cancer, seizures, comas and ultimately death. According to U.S. News, “A school-based survey shows nearly 1 in 11 U.S. students have used marijuana in electronic cigarettes, heightening health concerns about the new popularity of vaping among teens. E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine, but many of the battery-powered devices can vaporize other substances, including marijuana.” The liquids that are used in vapes contain chemicals such as nicotine, heavy metals like tin and copper, and formaldehyde which is used for embalming. Personally, this is quite disturbing to think about and I would never want those chemicals near me, let alone in my lungs. Not only are vapes terrible for you but they are illegal to buy under the age of 18 and can lead to serious repercussions. The official Florida State Legislature stated in Statue Fla. Stat. § 877.112(6) that “It is unlawful for any person under 18 years of age to knowingly possess any nicotine product or a nicotine dispensing device. Any person under 18 years of age who violates this subsection commits a noncriminal violation as defined in s. 775.08(3), punishable by:
(a) For a first violation, 16 hours of community service or, instead of community service, a $25 fine. In addition, the person must attend a school-approved anti-tobacco and nicotine program, if locally available;
(b) For a second violation within 12 weeks of the first violation, a $25 fine; or
(c) For a third or subsequent violation within 12 weeks of the first violation, the court must direct the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to withhold issuance of or suspend or revoke the person’s driver license or driving privilege, as provided in s. 322.056.” Being caught with the possession of a vape at your high school or middle school can and will ruin your entire school career and is irreversible.
What is causing this trend to become so popular?
Compared to a pack of cigarettes, vapes are surprisingly cheaper as a long term investment. With the recent hype about Juul pods, students tend to go and get Juul pods because they are small, concealable, creating less noticeable vapor, and odorless. Not only are they easily obtainable, you can purchase various flavors that may sound interesting (For example: cotton candy and mint) but contain harmful chemicals as stated in the previous paragraph. Another factor is that people who own vapes try to do tricks and methods such as “Dripping”, which is when you put e-cig liquid onto the coils of the device to enhance its flavor and smoke. I interviewed Sam Johnson, a freshman at Wellington High School and asked him “Why do you think that vapes are becoming such a big trend?” and he responded with “Mainstream celebrities like rappers always talk about and say how “cool” vaping is…” I then asked him, “What advice would you give to teens considering trying a vape?” and he said, “You shouldn’t because it has lasting effects on yourself and can your ruin your future.”
Some things to consider?
Before trying a vape consider the facts and ask yourself, “How will this affect me and the other people around me in the long run?” I understand that teens want more independence and freedom and it’s all a part of the experience and the path to becoming a responsible adult, but it is crucial that teens are properly informed and have a basic understanding of the possible outcomes whether it’s by choice or peer pressure.