E-cigarettes have become such a problem in the United States that the U.S. House of Representatives is considering banning the product entirely. Of the 41 million Americans who have reportedly vaped at some point, one specific group is experiencing a troubling increase in vaping: the American youth.
The University of Michigan’s annual survey, Monitoring the Future, collected more than 43,000 responses from students in nearly 400 schools across the nation. Of all students interviewed, 37 percent of high school seniors interviewed reported vaping from January 2018 through January 2019, a 9 percent increase from the previous survey. Meanwhile, vaping among high school sophomores increased from 24 percent to 32 percent and among 8th graders increased 13 percent to nearly 18 percent in the same time frame.
While these numbers are only from schools in and around Michigan, imagine how many middle and high school students fit into these percentages nationwide. Youth vaping has been an increasing trend because e-cigarette companies like Juul and Logic have been accused by the FDA of marketing to people 18 years old and younger.
A common argument from those who vape is that it’s a safe alternative to smoking. Although vaping is technically safer than smoking cigarettes, vaping does have its own negative side effects. aping increases the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and anginas. There is also substantial evidence that it damages DNA, which could lead to physical and mental problems later down the road.
These health hazards have only been discovered from short-term studies, as there aren’t enough long-term studies to truly understand the health hazards of vaping. Over 800 cases of lung disease and 12 deaths have been directly linked to vaping since September 2019, according to the CDC. More long-term studies are needed to understand how e-cigarette usage leads to health issues or death.
Even for those who are not affected by the chances of lung disease and death, vaping is just as addictive as traditional cigarettes. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the ingredient in cigarettes that causes addiction for approximately 34 million Americans. The health complications from addiction can hurt physically and burn a hole in your pocket.
Specifically at SHS, more than 180 e-cigarettes have been confiscated since the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Those caught with e-cigarettes can face consequences ranging from a day of in-school suspension and a parent conference to 45 days in the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program and a third-degree felony.
E-cigarettes are clearly something that no one, especially youths, should be using. Not only could you get in trouble at school or with the law, your health and quite possibly your life could be impacted negatively. Because most e-cigarettes contain nicotine and have a chance to seriously injure or kill anyone, the safest choice for every person, especially those our age and younger, is to stop using e-cigarettes altogether.