Despite the common misconception that vaping is a healthy alternative to smoking, teens across the globe are partaking in this dangerous activity with many unknown health risks.
Over the past couple of years, new forms of vaping have struck today’s youth, spanning nationwide and across the globe. While this alternative to smoking seems innocuous compared to its deadly counterpart, vaping can have serious negative effects on its users. Unfortunately, the tobacco industry seems to be targeting a younger demographic: high school students. In the past few months, the prevalence of JUULs and other vaping devices has risen drastically within the TJ community due to students smuggling vape pens onto school grounds. TJ Principal Mike Christoff commented, “A few months ago, the New York Times ran an article about how vaping has become widespread across the country, and particularly at TJ we’ve recently had some incidents involving JUULs and vape pens. We hear rumors sometimes of students vaping in classes or in bathrooms.”
In April of 2018, the New York Times published an article discussing the recent vaping epidemic among American teens, as well as the negative effects it could have on their health. The Times explained, “E-cigarettes are widely considered safer than traditional cigarettes, but they are too new for researchers to understand the long-term health effects, making today’s youth what public health experts call a ‘guinea pig generation.’” Christoff added, “My biggest concern is that kids don’t understand that vaping is as bad or worse than smoking cigarettes. It may seem like a cleaner thing to do and not as bad for your body, but the reality of what science is finding is that it is actually just as bad or worse for your lungs as smoking and can have serious long-term effects. Obviously I care a lot about all of our kids being healthy, so that’s my major concern.”
Regardless of whether or not one chooses to participate in this destructive alternative to smoking, under no circumstances should it be brought onto school grounds. Not only is the use of tobacco on school grounds illegal, but it will also result in repercussions from the school or district itself. “We treat vaping just like we would smoking or drinking during school. If you’re caught vaping, you will be suspended and possibly face legal ramifications with Denver Police depending on the situation,” expanded Christoff.
Despite the prevalence of this risky trend, there is still hope of eradicating the vaping epidemic from TJ. With the next school year approaching, Christoff encourages students and parents to educate themselves and their peers on the dangers of vaping. Additionally, Christoff wants to remind parents that they can help prevent the issue by being more mindful of what goes into their children’s backpacks. “A lot of times these devices closely resemble flash drives or pens, so it’s easy for parents to overlook them,” commented Christoff. “I always try to express to parents that you need to be just as engaged with your students now as you were back when they were in elementary school. Make sure you pay attention to what they’re doing, who they’re hanging out with, what they’re spending their money on, and together we will hopefully be able to slow this whole dilemma down.” Finally, as Christoff so eloquently put it, “Losers vape.”