One of the big problems society has now is a teen vaping epidemic. What used to be a device to help smokers quit has become way more of a problem than a problem solver. The sad thing is, most of these smokers that wanted to quit were also teens who thought it would be “cool” to smoke, but history is repeating itself with vapes. Teens are illegally acquiring and using vapes. More specifically, JUULs.
Most teens who vape use a JUUL. A JUUL resembles the shape of a Sharpie or a highlighter. With it being able to fit in the palm of your hand, that means they are also easier to hide. So with these two things plus them being available at every single gas station and some stores, they can be easy to get your hands on. Now more than 1 in 7 middle schoolers are using a vape, and 1 in 5 high schoolers are too. These are terrifying numbers. That means there is someone in your school, possibly in your class that has access to one of these devices.
If there is someone in your class that vapes, odds are they don’t even know what is in their vape. 13.7% of teens said they don’t even know, but over 66% say just flavoring. In most vape juices, it contains many chemicals, one of them is a flavorant called, diacetyl, which is very harmful to the lungs. It is used in other products, for its buttery flavor, but with vaping, you are inhaling this toxin. When you inhale enough it can give you popcorn lungs, which got its name from popcorn factories, when they used to use diacetyl for butter. Popcorn lung is irreversible scarring of the lungs. Another terrible chemical and one most people are familiar with is nicotine. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, it’s what makes people keep doing it, and therefore it makes people smoking or vaping for life. In JUULs there is 5% nicotine. That means, one “JUUL pod” contains about the same amount of nicotine as a box of cigarettes. There are also harmful metals that are used in vaping such as nickel, tin, and lead. When you think it can’t get worse, it can. There are also ultrafine particles that can get inhaled deep into the lungs, like plastic. This means with a single inhale of the vapor, you could inhale every single one of these things.
So what we should do is have the FDA make it harder for teens to acquire these vapes. We could maybe limit the number of retailers or set a ban on some of the appealing flavors. But together we can stop this problem.