Two High School Students say Vaping is an Epidemic

 
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by Janet and Regina

Epidemic may seem like an extreme word, but the extent of which vaping and e-cigs are being used is severe, especially among youth. As two high school seniors, we see first hand how vaping has become a part of our everyday environment. 

Despite being warned by health professionals in our classrooms of the unknown, lasting effects of vaping, students are still willingly participating. In order to voluntarily fill your lungs with hot chemicals, there must be some kind of reasoning as to why kids are taking part in it. We have a few speculations as to why.

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First, the vaping and e-cig market is tailored towards attracting youth with their sugary flavor selection and online presence. Vaping has become its own sector of social media, with people and accounts posting videos of themselves vaping and performing various tricks with the vapor. Like every other trend, social media is the primary form of exposure. Because kids see others posting on social media platforms, vaping has not only become normalized, but branded as “cool”. In our opinion, vaping has become a social pressure which leads some kids to believe that in order to be viewed as relevant among their peers, they should be vaping as well. 

From what we’ve witnessed, most students who vape don’t even make it through the school day without using. Teachers can’t even trust certain students to go to the bathroom, in fear that they are only going there to vape. On numerous occasions we have walked into the bathrooms to find students in huddles vaping. The bolder students, even vape in class, hiding it in their sleeves. Teachers, faculty members and even bus drivers have had to become more aware of the use, and know how to identify it. Students carry their vapes on them and the school systems have finally started to catch on. However, their tactics to try and combat this, in our experience, have been ineffective and misguided. 

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We feel that instead of punishing the masses, only punish the offenders. As students who don’t vape, it is extremely frustrating to continually be categorized. We honestly don’t care what our fellow students do outside of school. That’s their business, but by vaping in school, it negatively affects us because teachers are making assumptions about the entire student body and unjustly taking away our privileges.

Schools have attempted to bring an end to vaping within school by punishing the general student population. While being wildly unfair to those who do not partake, it has also proven to be unsuccessful. Because administrators can’t search belongings without probable cause or evidence, they’ve resorted to limiting basic student freedoms. Increased supervision of individuals on school grounds is the main restriction. Students are now constantly monitored and accompanied by an adult if they need to leave and re-enter the building… such things, before vaping was prominent, wouldn’t have been an issue.