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Filed under Opinion, Staff

Smoke and Mirrors- The Danger of Vape Culture

Vaping has become increasingly popular among teenagers with marketing tricks designed to omit its health risks

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One in four high schoolers used some form of tobacco products last year, according to Science News for Students. In addition to this, one in 14 mid

Cartoon by Bahar Khezri

dle school students have admitted to using e-cigarettes throughout their lifetime. The once ubiquitous cigarette is slowly being replaced in our society by electronic smoking. This trend has been introduced as positive: vaping devices in pop culture have been marketed as ‘a healthier alternative to smoking.’ This advertising campaign has been an effective way to draw in a younger high school audience. However, by advertising vaping as a less dangerous way to smoke, we are neglecting the serious health consequences that can accompany it.

The first Vape Pen was created in 2003, and has expanded into the booming empire it is today. The electronic cigarette industr

y took home 2.47 billion dollars in 2014 alone, and is projected to rise exponentially in the near future. The way vaping is advertised has played a large part in this. By marketing different vape juice cartridge flavors, portability and omitting health side effects, this revolutionized way to smoke carries a new connotation: ‘not as bad as the real thing’. Statistics have shown that this connotation has led to an increase in vaping among high school students.

Woodbridge High Wellness Coordinator and mental health professional Lauren Stallings has explained that vaping on high school campuses has become a nationwide problem, and our school campus is not immune to that. In response to this ongoing problem, many schools including our own are taking action by creating anti-vaping programs to follow along with already pre existing anti-tobacco programs. This new trend is harmful because it opens up many students to a potential pathway of addiction, which can follow them for the rest of their life.

“The biggest [concern of teens vaping] is that it is leading teenagers and other young people to addiction, so then in the future they will potentially move on to cigarettes and other forms of nicotine,” Stallings said.

Vaping can also have lasting effects on the lives of high school students in another way as well: poor health conditions. “Science News for Students”reports that vaping has been attributed to negative health effects such as bleeding mouths, sore throats, increased risk of gum disease and increased risk of lung damage, leading to shortness of breath and increased coughing. According to a survey conducted by “CNN”, about 1.7 million high school students have vaped in the past 30 days. The common peer pressure among teens in high school has led to many students try vaping in an attempt to fit in, making them susceptible to these risks.

Advertising tricks and peer pressure in high schools have painted vaping in a positive light, but high schoolers at a susceptible age to consumerism who are picking up this dangerous habit must be made aware that it carries lasting health effects for the rest of their life.

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Smoke and Mirrors- The Danger of Vape Culture