Just because you can, does not mean you should


Highschool students vaping

Vaping is more common now than ever among teens. The most common reasons youth experiment with e-cigarettes are curiosity, peer pressure, boredom, and anxiety. Knowing that it is easy to engage in this activity without getting caught, students worldwide make the unwise decision to vape, failing to truly weigh the gravity of the detrimental effects that follow vaping. 

“I feel like students these days are vaping a lot more —especially because it is just so easy to not get caught,” Sophia Lim (10), member of Medical Society club, said. “In most cases, people who vape are aware of the impacts of e-cigarettes on their health. However, they tend to underestimate these effects and take them more lightly than they truly should.” 

Vaping has become a norm amongst adolescents with surveys showing that 14.1% of US high school students and 3.3% of US middle school students have used an e-cigarette or other vape product at least once in their lifetime. Feeling pressured by these numbers, students experiment with e-cigarettes, and often spiral into what becomes a lifetime of nicotine addiction, suffering from side effects such as depression, anxiety, lung disease, and heart disease. 

From offering cotton-candy flavored vape pens to proposing college scholarships in exchange for an essay on topics that support nicotine regarding how it could have potential benefits, e-cigarette companies market their products to children and teens. E-cigarette companies take advantage of marketing outlets that are easily accessible to teens including the internet, retail environments, and recreational venues and events to reach a younger demographic. According to a study conducted in 2016, nearly 4 out of 5 middle and high school students, which is 20 million youth, saw at least one e-cigarette advertisement.  

E-cigarettes have also been making frequent appearances on social media news feeds and timelines with teens and e-cigarette brands like JUUL posting themselves using these vape pens that associate vapes with relaxing, having fun, and being “cool.” 

“Smoking age restriction laws are created for a reason,” Grace Choi (10), anti-vape advocate, said. “Nicotine is not a substance that is meant for children, but it is constantly marketed and represented as one in modern society—which is most definitely the root of the problem.” 

Amidst the constant exposure to vape pen commercials and the lack of regulation for tobacco use at schools, students ignore nicotine prohibitions and are able to freely vape at school. However, students should understand that just because it is easy to not get caught, does not mean they should vape. 

“I would most definitely agree that students should not vape even if most of the time, teachers at school hardly ever are able to catch a student red-handed,” Anna Piscioneri (11), avid school community member, said. “I understand that the changing norms of current society pressure students to vape, but the detriments of e-cigarettes are not worth it.”