By: Maile Benumof | Writer
September 20, 2019
America had almost done it. We had almost completely defeated nicotine addiction in the United States– and then the Juul arrived. It took the youth by storm, who were enticed by the exciting flavors and the thrill of being a part of something new. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that roughly 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students vape. Nicotine addiction is on the rise again, and with it, serious health issues, as well.
In recent weeks, there has been a surge of reports, roughly 530 cases to date, about individuals being hospitalized because of lung conditions, seizures, and other vaping-related issues. So far, eight people have died from vaping, and the very real danger on the cigarette substitute is becoming abundantly clear.
“The first people to vape were middle-aged gamers with hoop earrings,” said senior Jackson Todd. “Since when is that an appealing look? Get out while you can.” This proves to be true, as the most recent casualty of vaping was a Missouri man in his late 40s who died because his lungs were unable to provide enough gas exchange, which is certainly not an appealing death. Other symptoms of health concerns after vaping include lung inflammation, DNA damage in the lungs, bladder, and heart on top of many of the same health complications that are seen in people who smoke tobacco cigarettes.
Due to the huge amount of people suffering from Juul/vaping health problems, there has been a recent pushback against the e-cig industry. Everyday people and social media influencers alike have been posting videos sharing stories, either personal or people close to them, who have been hospitalized or significantly impacted in a negative way from the prolonged use of vape devices. This has been an effective mode for communicating the anti-vape message, which has even extended into our own high school community.
Here at San Clemente High School we have a club dedicated to combating vaping on campus within our students, called the No Vape Club. The club recognizes that young adults have been a huge target of vape companies.
“We realize that people on campus recognize vaping as cool, trendy, and a way to fit in and my goal is to show students that vaping has lethal consequences,” said Leila Akhondzadeh. “We want to be an example of a community on campus that has fun without giving into peer pressure and vaping”.
The club makes the assumption that many students are already aware of the consequences of vaping because it is so widely broadcast across multimedia platforms, so their message is much more centered around providing a way for students to decline peer pressure and feel good about that decision. With a growing population of active members the club is looking forward to a great year!