Spartan Spear: Vaping Epidemic

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Spartan Spear: Vaping Epidemic

Christina Marie Green ’20

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There has recently been an increase of deaths and illnesses connected to vaping in the United States. Vaping, also known as JUULing, has become more and more popular with middle school and high school students. As a result, teens are at risk of stumbling into a new health crisis.

What is vaping? Vaping means using an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) or other device to inhale tiny puffs or clouds of vapor. E-cigarettes are battery- powered, delivering nicotine and other chemicals and metals (such as acetone, aluminium, iron, lead, and more) through a liquid (called e-juice), which turns into a vapor when using the device.

Many of today’s youth have the misconception that vaping devices only deliver water vapor and avoring. However, even e-cigarettes that claim to have no nicotine still have other chemicals such as benzene, which can have short-term effects like drowsiness and dizziness, and potential long- term effects like blood disorders and negative impacts on a woman’s reproductive health.

Recently, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban the sale and distribution of all e-cigarettes in San Francisco. Mayor London Breed has signed this “SF Vaping Ban” to be enforced starting in early 2020. Although this is progress against the crisis of vaping in San Francisco, we must do more to prevent youth vaping.

The best thing we can do now is to inform young people about this potential health crisis. Schools should educate their students on the harmful effects of e-cigarettes, especially given the promotion and positive messaging young people see on social media around vaping. Acknowledging that these products will still be available coming from other communities, education will be key to guiding young people toward healthier and better lives.