OPINION: Teenage vaping is an epidemic

Violet Bucaro, Staff Writer

Around 30% of young people smoke every day. 55% of purchased vapes are disposable vapes, and can cost between $10-40 and last a week. A monthly fee of $160 can add up to $2,000 a year.  

Disposable vapes aren’t disposable though. Lithium-ion batteries expose toxic waste into the environment. Disposables are toxic to the environment and the lungs. But this information doesn’t matter. Kids want their vapes. In retrospect, 14.1% (2.14 million) of high school students and 30% of high school seniors in America have reported vaping.

Advertisement is a culprit to the frightening trajectory of the teenage vaping epidemic. Vapes are decorated in eye candy, with some even going as far as featuring teens’ favorite TV shows like Rick and Morty and The Simpsons. TV shows depicting vaping teens like Euphoria, Big Mouth, and 13 Reasons Why have also helped to popularize it. Kids’ favorite characters vape, so they think they should, too. Over the last few years, new alluring flavors were manufactured. Flavors like unicorn, candy, gummy bear, strawberry banana, grape, Crème Brûlée, and mixed berry sway kids into nicotine addiction. Cotton candy sounds harmless, right? 

Not quite. Heavy metals have been detected including nickel, tin, and lead. Most stores sell fake vapes, without labels. Therefore, anything can be in them. Who knows what they are made of? 

Even formaldehyde was found in nicotine vape solutions. Kids and teenagers may not realize what is causing them breathing problems, wheezing, or irritated skin and. They are blindsided, and big corporations profit off of it.  

It has become socially accepted to ask strangers to hit their vape. Illnesses and bacteria can be spread through sharing vapes. Kids may feel pressured to share with others, or they may feel they will be unscathed when sharing with an innocent friend. 

There is a myth that vaping helps anxiety when in reality, studies found it can increase anxiety. A study found that vapers and smokers are nearly 35% more likely to have heart attacks and 55% more likely to experience depression and anxiety than non-smokers. 

People become fiercely addicted to vaping and try to quit by smoking cigarettes. Unfortunately, cigarettes are not any healthier. Some research has shown that vaping can increase use rather than help people quit cigarettes. Which is worse? 

Some people trying to replace cigarettes with vaping end up using both. Cigarettes are made up of at least 7,000 chemicals, and vapes can have over 2,000. Vapes were intended to help people stop smoking, but people can vape, or at least secretly vape, anywhere. So can vaping cause people to become more addicted to nicotine? 

There are real solutions. You can quit smoking with smoking sensation treatments, aroma therapy, nicotine pouches, patches, gum, mints, exercise, acupuncture, and even hypnosis. It may be easier to quit now than to live with the side effects and die early. Get help today. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.