The Dangers of E-Cigs and Vaping

States begin to ban flavored vapes as the death count rises in the U.S.

Kelli Evans, the high school nurse, sits are her desk in the nurses office. Evans has all sorts of information of vaping and its side effects.

Camryn Church

Kelli Evans, the high school nurse, sits are her desk in the nurse’s office. Evans has all sorts of information of vaping and its side effects.

Camryn Church, Editor

Vaping has taken the news by storm as 530 individuals have been hospitalized, and nine deaths, all with ties to the new trend, according to The Independent. Michigan and a few other states have already started to take action against teen vaping and juuling. Michigan was the first state to ban flavored e-cigs, and New York was second. The Trump administration also plans to ban products like flavored Juul pods and flavored vaping devices.

Vaping has only become popular in recent years. Since 2011, vaping and e-cig user numbers have routinely gone up. This could be due to the fact that Juul was released in 2015, and up until recently offered flavors like watermelon, mango, grape, and strawberry lemonade. Last year, Juul stopped selling most of its flavored pods in retail stores and put an end to social media promotions and advertisements.

Atlantic High School Principal Heather McKay thinks the vaping and juuling problem at AHS is “very serious. I would consider one kid doing it very serious.” If a student is caught juuling or vaping, the first offense is having law enforcement brought to the school. The student is also issued a Minor in Possession for tobacco, and they receive a three day out-of-school suspension. Finally, parents are called up to the school. The second offense is five days out-of-school suspension, and another MIP. The administration is very tough on these consequences, according to McKay. “If there is a third offense I will take it to the board,” McKay said.

Students are caught by being observed vaping or juuling, or they have been seen with a vaping device in their possession. “Even if they’re not doing the act of inhaling, just by holding it is possession. That’s how the law reads as well,” McKay said. Twenty-four students were caught last year for vaping, and the most recent incident was on May 13 of last year. The administration also has the ability to take away a student’s vaping device, as will the police. “I do think it’s an issue. And for me, my fear is heightened based on the number of deaths and serious illnesses that have taken place from people doing it,” McKay said. 

The school nurse Kelli Evans said vaping can cause “lung damage, and studies are showing that vaping is worse than smoking cigarettes.” According to Evans, both cigarettes and vaping devices are addictive. “One Juul pod has as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes. Nicotine also harms brain development. The big issue is a lot of teens and young adults thought that vaping was better than smoking cigarettes, and now studies are showing it’s definitely not better and it causes more lung inflammation,” Evans said. Three states so far have either banned flavored vapes entirely, or plan on banning them soon.