What’s Going On With Vaping?

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Photo Credit: Jordan Sindelar

Vaping may not be a recent thing, but information on people getting sick and dying from it is. As of Oct. 18, the death total is 33 in the United States, but many more have gotten sick―right now, over a thousand cases of vape-related lung injury have been confirmed in 49 states and one U.S. territory. 

This problem has gained lots of media attention and coverage very quickly, but according to Huffington Post, researchers and health investigators are not entirely sure if vaping-related illnesses started recently. Have these illnesses just started, or is this pre-existing and it was the connection to vaping that was discovered? The Washington Post says that the first recorded vaping-related illnesses happened around April of this year. Since then, more and more states are looking into vaping-related deaths and illnesses and have been finding a significant amount of cases that were tied to vaping. 

Some symptoms of vaping-related illnesses are coughing, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. Many people turned out to have respiratory distress syndrome, which is what happens when fluid builds up in the lungs and causes breathing problems.

  The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) says that researchers and doctors have found that all have been people who vaped or used e-cigarettes; none of them were smokers. According to the CDC, nearly a

We interviewed a Cleveland senior who had experience in the high school vaping scene to gather more information on this subject. We granted anonymity to the senior so that he could speak freely. The Clarion wants to make it clear that it does not condone or support vaping, which is illegal to possess for anyone under age 18 in the state of Oregon, and is highly addictive. Here’s what he had to say:

 

Do people mostly vape socially?

People often start off vaping as a social thing in early years, but you’ll see a lot of seniors who just do it because they’ve become addicted to the nicotine.

You’ve heard about Trump proposing a ban on flavored pods. Do you think that it would make any difference when it comes to teenage vaping?

People are just going to find another way to get them, and it’ll create another illegal market. The flavoring thing isn’t really that important, because most people I know with JUULs just use the mint and menthol flavors. A lot of the tropical flavoring doesn’t even appeal to kids nowadays.

There was a whole investigation into JUUL specifically marketing to youth, Do you think that this branding made any impact on how many kids vape?

I don’t think that any of my friends who JUUL have ever seen one of those commercials. The nicotine industry is so regulated that they aren’t very common. Most people pick it up from their friends, rather than advertisements convincing them to try it.

What do you think are the riskiest and least risky vaping habits?

If you vape constantly, you’ll go through a lot of pods pretty fast, and it adds up if you’re a very heavy user, but I think that―especially at this school―it’s very social, and a lot of people share. The usage isn’t usually that heavy, but it’s up there.

When most users consider quitting, why? Do they go through with it?

All of my friends, at one point, have said that they’re going to quit. It mostly happens when they’re out of money, or their devices break, or they’re out of juice, but they always end up finding a way to get more.

How do you feel about the health-related side effects involved?

Honestly, with vaping, I personally don’t feel like I’ve had any side effects, and I’ve been vaping for around three and a half years. I think there are some juniors who have been vaping longer than me, and I’m not really seeing any noticeable changes in their vaping habits and health. Right now, the long-term effects don’t have much research behind them, and it’s really hard to know what’ll happen. I think there’ll be something, but I don’t think it’ll be as disastrous as, say, a cigarette addiction might be. 

You’ve probably seen the news about vape-related deaths and illnesses. What are your thoughts on that?

It’s good to have information about that, but I feel like a lot of that information is falsified and mis-spread. They don’t really specify the type of device the person’s using or how long they’ve been using it, they’ll just show you the pictures of a person in a hospital bed, and then call for banning JUULs. It’s not a very constructive way of looking at the issue. A lot of those instances have been linked to exotic cartridges and illegal THC. Yeah. I don’t think that any kids at this school are on that stuff, and so I don’t think that they have that specific health issue to worry about, but there are still many problems [with nicotine and standard cartridges] in the long term.

What are your thoughts on the expense of vaping and nicotine addiction? Is it a lot for kids to keep up with or is it pretty accessible and cheap?

It’s pretty accessible. A lot of legal stuff isn’t that expensive. I can see why kids are able to keep up with it.

You said you vaped a pod a day. Isn’t that equivalent to a pack of cigarettes a day?

That’s referring to the nicotine content, not the health effects. As someone who vapes and smokes, it’s so much of a different experience. A cigarette―first of all, it does burn, and though you get a nicotine headrush at first, you feel so much worse a few moments later. If you hit a JUUl, you’re still able to function, but if you’re on cigs, I feel like you become slower, not as motivated―at least with me personally.

E-cigs were made so that people who smoke cigarettes would stop, but is this happening?

I feel like it’s almost the other way around now; a lot of kids will start off out of their friends’ JUUl, and then one day their friend will pull out a pack of cigarettes―it all just starts from there, basically. 

I don’t know anyone who vapes that won’t also smoke. You have to make a conscious decision, and you have to realize that they both have negative health factors, but you take those into account when you’re making an educated decision. Even if it’s not for your best welfare, the facts are there for you. It’s not like it’s a secret.

Do you feel like vaping is a gateway drug?

I don’t think so. Like I said, it’s more likely for kids to smoke if they vape, but I don’t think that that opens up any doors to anything harder. It’s a nicotine addiction, I don’t think that goes hand-in-hand with a hard drug addiction.

 

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