The Reasoning in the Smoke


Art by Jonah Guerrero.

Jonah Guerrero, Staff Reporter

Vaping: a problem that has been on the rise in recent years. Of course, that comes to no surprise to anyone, especially faculty members in schools who have been caught up in trying to handle the problem to understand the technology in vaping. The age demographic for those who vape is relatively young with a Pew Research Gallop Poll suggesting vaping was on the rise in the U.S., especially among young people.

This is the new fight; everyone from ninth to twelfth grade has been brought up with the dangers of products like cigarettes and tobacco. We’ve had programs like D.A.R.E with slogans of “Just Say No!” So if you would ask a teenager if they would smoke cigarettes, I would guess most would give a resounding “no”. If we have had the common upbringing of being so highly against drugs, what switch was flipped to turn to e-cigs and vape pens? I asked former students if they smoked during their time in high school and if so why. Some laughingly said no, but confessed in stating “Yes I did; it was a simple once in a while to almost every time I came home from school.”

After confirming their identities would stay anonymous, they told me stories of how it helped them study for tests. Explain that on the worst days it was simply nice to be in your room with no care in the world; and how good it felt to feel your problems melt away with each puff. Or how it would be funny to smoke in the back of the classroom without the teacher knowing. Others took a serious tone in noting that they had to give up the pen after ER visits. With such a widespread pool of reactions and stories, it doesn’t surprise me on how or why vaping is on the rise. Some of the most surprising stories came from some respectable students with a high GPA and admired by those around them. With the pressures of having to maintain a positive image and high level of education led these kids resort to smoking. I have found that it is extremely easy to get a hold of vapes or other products of the same kind.”Dealers” on social media platforms are offering an odorless vapor to ward off any sort of suspicion from teachers and parents.

After researching for this story, I have noticed two things: vaping is not going anywhere and vaping is not going to be solved through slogans and ads on social media platforms. These old school tactics are not a means to end a new-school problem. “Just Say No” needs to be revamped. We are moving in the right direction in banning flavored pods for Juul’s (a vape product). We need to make it violently clear that the tobacco or Cannabidiol (CBD) in these vapes are paired with who knows what. The amount of hospital visits because of the stuff in these vapes is honestly horrifying. We are letting kids gamble with their lives to let in a quick escape, so I would wave in complete regulation of these products. We need to regulate what goes in to these “carts” and pens, so maybe if a teen finds themselves two inches from a pen, it won’t be the last breath they take.