June Topic: Vaping

A boy at our school was expelled because the teachers caught him vaping in the boy’s locker room. Due to the lack of ventilation, they had to pause and try to clear the air in between telling him to go to the principal's office and confiscating his Juul.

A group of kids at Westview is known as the ‘Vape Club’, and everyone that hangs out with them is said to own at least one e-cigarette.

The last time I went to the tiny, cramped seven-eleven two streets away from Vons, the first thing I saw when I walked through the swinging doors was a shiny, stacked case of Juuls.

America has an epidemic, one that seeps through classrooms like ink through water. It’s not, as one would think, the kind of disease that sends doctors into frantic, rushing panics. It is however, a huge problem in schools across the country, one that teachers and administrators find hard to solve. Overall vaping has increased dramatically, and the popularization of vapes themselves has ignited furious debate, with proponents of the device arguing that it’s less addictive and more healthy than a cigarette would be, and opponents conducting numerous studies showing otherwise. As the arguments rage on, however, more and more students are pulled in by the burgeoning popularity of the flavored e-cigarette, the most popular of which is the Juul, a small tablet that might resemble a container of pencil lead. These devices are replacing traditional nicotine products, all of which are very heavily regulated and hard to obtain for those who haven’t yet reached the age requirement to purchase them. Juuls, however, are another story entirely.

If you’re a high schooler in America, chances are you’ve seen or heard of a classmate vaping. Around thirty percent of the high school students laughing and clustered in hallways are part of the statistic, puffing on e-cigarettes on their spare time. Bathrooms are filled with smoke, lockers are clouded, and teachers are at their wits’ end when they find their students puffing away at small, flash-drive sized objects, which are easy to hide and even easier to use. Even children as young as those in the eighth grade have admitted to using or purchasing a vape, with countless more hiding usage from their peers. Almost every school has had this kind of problem, and the issue is only becoming more widespread, more prominent as the reach of e-cigarettes spreads and grows. The probability that a student vapes grows steadily as they age, the percentage of which increases every year. Seniors have an especially high risk, with around forty percent acknowledging the fact that they regularly Juul.

Early use of vapes has been linked to nicotine dependency later on in life, with multiple studies showing that older smokers intermittently switch between Juul usage and actual cigarettes, despite e-cig companies marketing their products as helpful towards ending overall nicotine usage. There’s been a soaring increase of early high-school vaping, and the Federal Government has finally seen fit to step in, despite an earlier hands-off relationship with e-cigarettes. Even now, with more stringent regulation, you can still drop over to the corner store and buy a Juul, often without an ID. The average price is around twenty-five to thirty dollars, and there are online shops that deal specifically in this kind of merchandise. Most are displayed where everyone can see them, and the choices are endless and brightly colored, highly attractive to young eyes. The most popular kind is goes by ‘Juul’, and the small, pocket-sized stick is easy to move around. Flavor pods range from creme brulee to passionfruit and mango, costing around sixteen dollars for a pack of four. Even for those with limited funds, it’s easy to see the appeal, especially if all your friends are doing the same.