By Shadee Ardabily, 8th grader
We have witnessed over 30 deaths and over 1,200 lung illnesses across the U.S. from use of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices over the past two years. When e-cigarettes and other vaping devices first came out, they were marketed as nicotine free and a healthier alternative to regular cigarettes. Vaping, as it turns out, is much more dangerous than smoking regular cigarettes, and there are underage teens and kids smoking them in school right under the noses of unknowing teachers and administrators.
Vaping is much more dangerous than a regular cigarette and can cause death and serious illness. According to an article on www.health.harvard.edu, “an estimated 2.1 million middle school and high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2017; that number jumped to 3.6 million in 2018. Certainly, age restrictions – it’s illegal to sell e-cigarettes to anyone under 21 (18 or 19 in some states) — aren’t preventing use among teens and young adults.”
Either kids are not required to show proof of age, or they are getting someone older to make the purchases for them. According to www.health.com, “Currently, 26 deaths as a result of vaping-related illness have been confirmed in 21 different states, and 1,299 of severe lung illness associated with e-cigarettes have been reported across the U.S.” These illnesses are chronic and disabling. Kids who decide to vape are taking huge risks to their lives and the quality of their lives. Are they prepared to fully understand these risks?
There are underage teens and kids that are vaping in school when teachers, administrators, and parents don’t even know. According to the Today Show from YouTube, there are ads and websites targeting kids and teens to buy vapes that look like school supplies. The Today Show decided to put teachers, parents, and a retired police officer to the test to see if they could spot vapes in a classroom. They found only four or five out of 14 that were hidden in plain sight. One parent said, “I wouldn’t have thought that was a vape. It looked like it could have just been a regular marker, eraser, or highlighter.” The vapes were disguised as backpacks, hoodies, highlighters, smart watches, pens, and erasers. The worst part was that some of these items were usable as school supplies as well. Some parents thought that they should be more invasive in their kids’ lives so that they could more readily stay aware of what their kids were buying. One parent said, “I think it is ingenious marketing, and I am a little frightened.” Because there weren’t many vapes found in the video, searchers got only a 36 percent on the test. That’s failure, and the result of this kind of failure means that adults are not adequately averting the danger.
Vaping is dangerous. Kids don’t always understand the danger and think of themselves as invincible. That means that adults need to be especially vigilant to help protect kids from the dangers of vaping. Parents need to be a little more invasive in their dealings with their children, and teachers and administrators need to be hyper vigilant to this health crisis unfolding in front of their eyes.
Here is a link to the Today Show video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLSo9L4uOkw