At my school in Jasper, Alabama, we have a lot of people in the medical field who come to talk to us about different trends that affect teens. Last school year, they shared the effects of JUUL pods at a presentation in our auditorium. During their speech, the kids around me were joking around and laughing. They said that the school system did not want them to vape because they wanted to control all aspects of their life.
I could not believe how ignorant the kids were acting when my high school just wanted to help them and keep them safe. It disgusted me. In class, our teachers did everything in their power to persuade us to make the right choices. Again, some students just laughed and the warning went right over their heads. One of my friends even vaped in class while the teacher was not looking. How could everyone be oblivious to everything around them?
Vaping is affecting this generation of young adults in a repulsive manner. It is a huge trend across the country in high schools. It can affect teens long term and kill any dreams they had for their future. Below are the effects on teens by vaping and how they get hooked.
A 2018 study at Yale Medicine called “Your Teen is Underestimating the Health Risks of Vaping” showed that teen vaping is an epidemic nationwide. No one realizes how easy it is for adolescents to access JUULs. Eleven percent of high school seniors, eight percent of tenth graders, and 3.5 percent of eighth graders are hooked. Many studies have shown how vaping really affects adolescents. According to the Center for Disease Control, vaping can harm brain development in teenagers. One JUUL pod has as much nicotine as twenty cigarettes. When the user inhales the vapor into their lungs, bystanders breathe it in and are affected too. Young vapers are also more likely to smoke as adults. Some vapes can also contain marijuana, increasing the likelihood kids will get hooked. Nicotine is very harmful to the adolescent brain too. Getting addicted will make you a prisoner to the drug. So why would you start it?
JUULs are also becoming popular on social media. JUUL has even shut down all of their social media accounts. The CEO of JUUL, Kevin Burns said “We don’t want anyone who doesn’t smoke, or already use nicotine, to use JUUL products. We certainly don’t want youth using the product. It is bad for public health, and it is bad for our mission.”
Some celebrities including Robert Pattinson, Marc Jacobs, Vanessa Hudgens and Leonardo DiCaprio are frequently seen vaping. When teenagers see that, they may say, “Oh, my favorite celebrities are doing this, I should do it, too.” These pictures are putting bad ideas into young minds. One of the instances where this has happened is when Instagram star Zoe Laverne, a 17-year old, was caught vaping on Instagram (vaping is illegal for anyone under 18). This could have influenced some of her young followers to start. The website that brought attention to this was Vapor Vanity, who supports vaping as they feel it is a “life-saving” alternative to smoking cigarettes, but did not condone underaged vaping.
In high schools, if you vape, you are considered “popular.” How are you popular if you are ruining your future health? Will it even matter in four years if you were popular in high school? Nonprofit public health organization Truth Initiative published a study stating that 15- to 17-year-olds are 16 times more likely to start vaping than an adult who is 25-34 years old. School hierarchy and bullying will push a teenager to do something bad just to feel wanted in their own high school. JUUL pods are very easy to bring in a school environment because they look like flash drives. Therefore, they are more popular among teens than cigarettes because they can be easily hidden. High school is just one step in your life. So why would you want one decision to now control your future?
Teen vaping is affecting our generation as it is now becoming the biggest trend among teens. Why are my fellow peers destroying their future by using a vape? As you read, there are many ways it can hurt teens. There are many pressures to start vaping, like celebrity advertisement and high school peer pressure. After reading this, will you make the right decision about vaping or just ignore it?