Vaping: An Epidemic


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Another person has died after vaping, this time it was a man over the age of 50 who lived in Kansas. He becomes the second vaping-related death in the state, according to a statement from Kansas Governor Laura Kelly.

In the United States, the vaping epidemic is growing at an alarming rate among school-aged kids. In fact, the Truth Initiative reported that 2.1 million high school and middle school students were using vapes in 2017. In the last 30 days, 6 percent of youth and 10 percent of young adults have been reported to be using a type of e-cigarette called Juul.

Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by heating nicotine liquid. In order to vape, you need some type of e-cigarette which come in many different shapes and sizes. Some e-cigarettes look like actual cigarettes, others are in the shape of a pen. However, the most popular brand of e-cigarette is Juul which is disguised as a flash drive.  Users buy “pods” with different amounts of nicotine in them and insert them into an e-cigarette to vape. Because of the high levels of nicotine in e-cigarettes, studies have shown that they can be more addictive than using traditional cigarettes.

Currently, young adults and teens are juuling and vaping more than any other demographic. John Hopkins Medicine states “There are three reasons e-cigarettes may be particularly enticing to young people. First, many teens believe that vaping is less harmful than smoking. Second, e-cigarettes have a lower per-use cost than traditional cigarettes. Finally, vape cartridges are often formulated with flavorings such as apple pie and watermelon that appeal to younger users.” Schools are trying to educate their students on how dangerous vaping really is. Some schools are trying to get the point across to students before they even start to use e-cigarettes.

If you watch TV, you may have noticed an increasing amount of commercials warning people of the dangers of vaping. But are they really getting anywhere? Kids use vapes because they are under the impression that vaping isn’t as dangerous as smoking. However, it really is. Vaping can cause “Popcorn Lung” which is a nickname for bronchiolitis obliterans, it is a condition that damages your lungs and the smallest airways. It makes you cough and gives you shortness of breath. There are also cardiovascular effects. For example, heart disease which causes your blood vessels to clog up and could end in a stroke or a heart attack can be a consequence of using e-cigarettes.

The effects of vaping for teens are more severe than for adults. As a teenager or a young adult, your body is still growing and developing. Your brain, heart, and lungs can be harmed while vaping. The nicotine in the e-cigarettes is highly addictive which can make it difficult to quit.

People are vaping as an alternative to smoking, but it’s not any better, it still brings harmful chemicals into your body. The FDA tested 2 popular brands of e-cigarettes, NJOY and Smoking Everywhere. They found that they expose users to harmful chemicals, including diethylene glycol, which is the chemical used in antifreeze and carcinogens including nitrosamines. It was reported that some e-liquids contain weed killer.

Currently, people are being hospitalized for vaping.  The CDC has reported that 1,080 lung injury cases associated with using e-cigarettes, or vaping products have been reported to CDC from 48 states and 1 U.S. territory since Oct 2019.  Worse yet, 18 e-cigarette related deaths have occurred and the number is steadily rising.

For more information on e-cigarettes and vaping, check out the links below:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Truth Initiative