The Real Cost of Vaping

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The Real Cost of Vaping

Amanda Quach and Edited by Valerie Alcala

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The image depicts a girl smoking from a juul. Image courtesy of Google Images.

There is no doubt that vaping has become a widespread phenomenon amongst the youth over the past few years. From teens hotboxing their high school restrooms, to snapchatting their “secretive” hits during class, where do we draw the line? The first modern e-cig was invented around the 2000s, but has recently become a popular trend for a number of reasons: easy-accessibility, addictive nature, and overall peer pressure. So, what is the real cost of vaping?

There is a variety of e-cig devices, but the one teens tend to gravitate towards the most is the “Juul.” One device costs around 30 dollars, and four pods are usually priced at 15 dollars. This costs may seem like a big cut out of an average teens allowance, but with this epidemic comes business numbers. Many “plugs” or “dealers” like to get a bang for their buck and often sells these products at a discounted price to their peers, making this easy to access, especially for those not prone to directly surpass the age block on the Juul website themselves. This makes it harder for parents to track where their money is going to and what items are entering their households, as the Juul design is similar to that of a USB drive and can be easily hidden in a pencil pouch or sock drawer.

Juuls look uncannily similar to the flash drives students often use for school. Coincidence or not? Image courtesy of Google Images.

Just recently, the FDA cracked down on Juul’s manufacturing to directly witness the root of the problem. In Nov. 2018, Juul was forced to redirect their marketing strategy to purely adults and discontinued their more popular, sweeter flavored pods. Although this doesn’t stop teens from buying these addictive juices, it points out a big reason why so many of them like to vape. The sweet smell and flavor of vape juices are much more attractive than the smell and taste of tobacco, making this form of nicotine addiction a lot more appealing. Although it may seem clear to most people that the main reason why teens who vape continue to vape is due to the amount of nicotine in these pods, many of them don’t fully understand what they’re getting themselves into when they take their first “innocent” try at the device. Because one pod is equivalent to a pack of cigarettes, individuals become hooked quickly.

So, why do so many teenagers even make the decision to use such a harmful substance? Besides the taste, the addictive nicotine, or lack of knowledge about the product, a key factor into why most teens decide to vape is caused by peer pressure. Starting from a young age, children were always taught to “just say no,” but what happens when this environment is brought to high school, the most impressionable place in a teenager’s life? We can all agree that high school can be one of the weirdest experiences to go through, since teenagers love the idea of conforming to trends and “fitting in.” Even the most edgy, or unique, individuals conform to the current norms placed upon our high school culture, and it can be hard to escape. Vaping is probably one of the most dangerous, pressured trends teens will partake in, purely because everyone else is doing it. According to the FDA, there has been a 78% increase on vaping among high schoolers in the last year alone, and that number will continue to grow as it becomes more normalized in the daily life of a student. Many students find vaping “entertaining” or “cool,” but is a minor bump in social status worth a lasting effect on you and your peer’s health?

Another image, again depicting someone vaping from their juul. Image courtesy of Google Images.

Aside from nicotine, vaping will raise your blood pressure, spike your adrenaline, and even cause “popcorn lung,” or bronchiolitis obliterans. There are also various toxic substances and chemicals in the vapor juice that can potentially lead to serious lung problems. The reason why vaping can seem so relaxing is because of how your body reacts to this poisonous substance. It wants to get rid of the harmful toxins so much that when you release the smoke from your lungs, creates a soothing sensation in your body that releases dopamine, ultimately leading to addiction. With over 10.7 million youth aged from 12-17 at risk for using e-cigarretes, there is definitely an epidemic for this widespread phenomenon.

Do your part in educating yourself and your peers about the real cost of vaping and really evaluate if its worth your time, money, and most importantly, your health.

Source: https://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/PublicHealthEducation/PublicEducationCampaigns/TheRealCostCampaign/ucm620783.htm