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Why has vaping fallen from popularity?

TIFFANY BERRY, Staff Writer

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Graphic by Rachel Santostefano

At first extremely trendy, accepted, and thought to be only for the kids who deemed the ‘popular’ status, vaping in teen culture has recently declined in both demand and popularity throughout the school.
“There are no health risks, so I don’t get why this is such a big deal,” said an anonymous student when asked if the health risks of vaping should be a concern. “It’s just water vapor, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Many e-cigarettes do contain varying levels of nicotine, as well as propylene glycol, a chemical used in nebulizers and inhalers. The American Association of Public Health Physicians claim that even though there is not much nicotine, other substances inhaled into the lungs can still cause tobacco-attributable illness.
The information about e-cigarettes and vape pens has been slowly but surely growing in knowledge, but not in awareness.
For some students, the little info on vaping and the health risks either stopped them, or did nothing to change their minds on the recreational activity.
“Knowing that there still wasn’t enough information about the chemicals inside of them, I still tried, and probably won’t again because it seemed pretty useless to me,” said junior Furkan Ince. “Smokers would enjoy it but people who don’t enjoy smoking would probably see it as foolish, and I can understand why.”
Other teens know the health risks. However, they choose to believe that they are false.
“The health issues probably have to do with something else. There’s no nicotine or any addictive things in the vape pens”, said another anonymous student, who heard once from a parent that vaporizer pens contain nicotine and can break down one’s immune system.
Jennifer Price, both a coach and wellness teacher, helped clear the air on whether students should be vaping.
“There are more health issues than we realize about vaping probably,” Price noted, “but I hope students understand the risks and it is illegal for people under 18 to purchase.” In the state of Connecticut, the only major restriction on vaping is that those under 18 cannot purchase vape pens.
When it came to the health risks themselves, Price was honest.
“I’m not sure anyone knows the health risks,” Price said. “There is not much that is known about it.”
Price is not wrong in this case. Over the past few years, more studies and experiments have been conducted, but that is only for the short term. The long-term effects of vaping and the use of e-cigarettes will not be known until, as Price said, “thirty years down the road.”
There are multiple students in the school that do not know how vaping works and how it affects one’s health, yet they still judge people for using vaporizers and create a stigma for it. Price taught one class of hers about e-cigarettes because they were intrigued, but while some teachers are trying to get the topic to be in the actual health curriculum, some of the students right now do not know about it.
However, this proves students are curious. How many students know so little about vape pens and e-cigarettes? Should we be considering them more seriously? Students claim that kids that vape are just trying to be cool, so is that stigma correlated to the idea that many teens smoke to look ‘cool’ and ‘popular’?
Many students asked to voice their opinions on such a growing stigma in the student body’s culture either asked right away to remain anonymous or declined to voice what they thought, possibly due to the idea of being judged or feeling bad for talking about people they know that vape. But even the students who admitted to posting pictures and videos of their friends and them vaping and such said they didn’t feel comfortable. Teens, both in and out of school, are always joking around about the activity, whether they personally participate in it or not. For so many students to talk down about vaping, it is no wonder why even the teens who publicly post themselves vaping do not want their voices to be documented somewhere they feel is legitimate.

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The student news site of Middletown High School
Why has vaping fallen from popularity?