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Vape: The New Teen Problem

Anastasia Thumser, Staff Writer

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Within the past decade, cigarette smoking has reached an all-time low among teenagers. While it seems that numerous health and wellness professionals have successfully persuaded underclassmen of the dangers of smoking, the frustrating concept is that vaping is now on the rise. With the revolutionization of the e-cigarette, students can now be seen blowing a puff of smoke out of their lips with the help of a thin device.

This device, called a juul, allows gases to quickly dissipate into the air by being converted into vapor. This technique is called “vaping”, and has become a very prevalent issue in Staples High School.
“I have heard a lot of stories about people [vaping] in the bathrooms and frequently. I have also seen teachers yelling at students outside the bathrooms for vaping,” said Evelyn Stevens ’21.

A vaporizer is an electronic device that heats vaping materials, which consist of e-liquids, waxy concentrates that could include tobacco, or dried herbs, and transforms them into vapor. The vapor is inhaled by delivering chemicals into the lungs, which can cross into the capillary beds that are inside your alveoli.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 16% of high school students vaped in 2015, or 2.39 million teens. In comparison, only 1.37 million kids smoked in 2015. There are multiple reasons why vaping has become more popularized than smoking, with one of the main ones being anonymity.
“We notice students vaping a lot less than when we noticed students smoking cigarettes here because vaping is a lot harder to detect. Unless they’re using flavored juuls, it’s very hard to come across.” said Richard Franzis, the assistant principal at Staples High School.

He also added that vaping is becoming a more frequent occurrence in Staples because students can easily enshroud it. “Students will actually charge their juuls in their computers during the day because they look very much like a USB-port. Typically, if kids are going to vape during the day, they try to conceal it, so they’ll vape in the bathroom. Most of the kids aren’t bold enough to do it out in the open, but they will do it in the bathroom where they can conceal it.”

Officer Ned Batlin, a Westport Police officer, thinks that vaporizers generally have a marketing ploy that is meant to appeal to kids.

“More than 85% of e-cigarette users ages 12-17 used flavored e-cigarettes. The flavors are the leading reason for youth to use. More than 9 out of 10 young adult e-cigarette users said they use e-cigarettes flavored to taste like menthol, alcohol, fruit, chocolate, or other sweets. The companies that make the e-cigarettes are targeting you people. The flavors they market are designed to attract the youth. Do I look like someone who needs to smoke a pineapple or fruit punch e-cigarette? That’s the kind of flavors the companies are making,” he says.

Studies have shown that teens are more inclined to vape because it presumably has less health risks. The materials inside an e-cigarette supposedly contain organic compounds, which are much less likely to be exhaled in normal breath. Therefore, they are much easier for the lungs to handle than smoke from a normal cigarette.

Franzis confirms that, “[Vaping] is a significant issue here. I think a lot of kids are using vaping cigarettes or electronic cigarettes who probably wouldn’t turn to tobacco, because they think it’s a ‘healthier’ alternative to smoking. I think they’re being fooled by the fact that it’s bargained as ‘safe’, when in fact it’s more concentrated than regular cigarettes.”

Officer Batlin agrees that vaping is not nearly as safe as it is claimed to be on the market. He too says that the issue of underclassmen vaping is huge, because it’s a gateway. Kids start out vaping because they think it’s cleaner, but then they become addicted to the nicotine. Then they realize that cigarettes are cheaper than e-cigarettes. In Connecticut, the number of kids who used a tobacco product were going down, but they’re now going up because of the e-cigarettes.”

The assumption that vaping is safer than smoking, has also been called into question by scientists at the University of California. In 2015, they conducted a study which seemed to prove that vaping also provided numerous health risks for users.

The scientists advised an experiment in which they replicated the extract from the smoke of e-cigarettes and used it to treat human cells, and then compared those cells to the ones left untreated.

They found that the ones treated with the nicotine-free smoke developed 50 percent more damaged DNA strands and died far sooner than the untreated cells. Further research concluded that the damage in DNA could interrupt the cell’s repair process, increasing the risk of cancer.

With all the negative aspects vaping provides to students and Staples High School as a whole, staff members are undoubtedly trying to convince and incentivize students not to vape. The methods they use vary depending on each circumstance, but they usually include suspension, education programs, and various punishments from the staff.

“Many times what will happen is that we’ll get staff members who will go into the bathrooms here, and then they will bring those kids down to us. We also tell the staff members what to look for in terms of when students are bringing juuls into class, and we sent out pictures of juuls to keep teachers informed,” says Mr. Franzis.

“We’re also in the process right now of coming up with some educational programs here at the high school,” he adds.

“I know Mr. Damico is really invested in educating kids about vaping, and I imagine our health program has been informed to include education about vaping as well. And yes, it is true that it’s illegal for students under 18 to have possession of any smoking products or materials. Could we call the police on them? Yes, I suppose we could, but we often don’t do that unless we catch someone selling them at school.”

In addition to staff members being against the idea of students vaping in high school, many students are also opposed to the fact that their peers continuously vape.

“I overall don’t think that high school students, especially underclassmen, should be vaping, but if juniors and seniors want to do it outside of school, that’s not my issue. But I think no matter who it is, it is completely inappropriate and shocking that they leave class to do it.” said Stevens.
Megan Kleiner ‘21 says, “I think staff members should be hyper aware of this problem. Staff should be taught about what vaping does and more importantly what it looks like so they can spot it. I also believe there should be a harsher punishment for vaping. It’s a problem that I think is only going to continue to grow.”

Mr. Franzis also hopes that staff members can gain control of the issue, but he recognizes that it’s going to be a challenge. “Unfortunately, no matter what we do, kids are always going to try risky things because they think they’re immune to the side effects. However, the simple fact is that they are just as susceptible to the pitfalls as anyone else, and because of that they should be more cautious of their actions and their decision-making.”

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55 Comments

55 Responses to “Vape: The New Teen Problem”

  1. Aidan Mermagen on February 15th, 2018 9:19 am

    That’s so interesting, I never knew a lot of what was in that article. I definitely agree though that there should be harsher punishments for vaping, because otherwise students won’t think there’s a lot of risk involved and would be much more willing to try it.

    [Reply]

  2. Thomas Sargent on February 15th, 2018 9:22 am

    Tbh if kids want to vape outside class then why not, I mean it’s their funeral.

    [Reply]

  3. Jason Stein on February 15th, 2018 9:23 am

    I highly agree to the fact that the vaping companies purposefully say that it is “cleaner” to get more teenagers buying e-cigarettes. Then they get addicted and keep on buying it. It’s a scam to get more younger people vaping and it needs to be stopped. Many people are now addicted and can’t stop vaping because they fell into this trap and they’re health is at much danger.
    #share the truth

    [Reply]

  4. Gabby Lantier on February 15th, 2018 9:32 am

    This is such an amazingly written article! We need more people to realize that this could get ugly pretty fast and I think that this article brings a tremendous amount of awareness to the subject.

    [Reply]

  5. Keira Best on February 15th, 2018 9:45 am

    This is terrible. I didn’t know that this is such a big issue in the school district

    [Reply]

  6. Tommy Dry on February 15th, 2018 9:46 am

    If kids want to vape it is entirely their choice, kids just need to know that they’re also making the choice that can kill them.

    [Reply]

  7. Jake Coniglio on February 15th, 2018 9:49 am

    I think that Vaping seems very dangerous and that kids our age shouldn’t be doing it. This is a very good article and nice job to whoever made this

    [Reply]

  8. Logan Goodman on February 15th, 2018 9:50 am

    This is such an amazing article. I really agree that the schools should make more of a punishment. Before I read this article I only knew that vaping was bad. This article was very informative and helped me understand that vaping is more than just “bad”.

    [Reply]

  9. Kaitlyn Seo on February 15th, 2018 9:53 am

    I think that it is good that you are bringing attention to this, because it is true, and people need to be aware of this and how harmful it is. Some people may do it to kind of get away from their problems, but what they are really doing is creating a new, less visible one. Keep up the good work!

    [Reply]

  10. Katherine Spada on February 15th, 2018 9:56 am

    I completely agree with what this article is talking about. If there are consequences for vaping, less people will be willing to try it. This article will definitely spread awareness about how dangerous vaping can be.

    [Reply]

  11. Justin Zames on February 15th, 2018 9:57 am

    I though that was really interesting I never knew that vaping was a problem in highschool and I do agree that kids should get bigger punishments for vaping on school gounds and in general.

    [Reply]

  12. Julia Berg on February 15th, 2018 9:58 am

    It is definetly important to get this topic noticed. I saw my mom lookng at her facebook and someone had posted about this, I was suprised that people were using this so much. Let alone that fact that the creators of this made it easy to hide it in school. I found it interesting and suprising.

    [Reply]

  13. Georgia Mori on February 15th, 2018 10:24 am

    I agree, I think that smoking Is terrible, I hope people reading this will realize how it is bad for you and stop! 1 juul pod is equivalent to 100 cigarettes!

    [Reply]

  14. Katelyn Bouchard on February 15th, 2018 10:57 am

    I agree as well. To me smoking and vaping are both really bad equally.

    [Reply]

  15. Luke Thumser on February 15th, 2018 11:04 am

    I like how included people involved with the situation. I hope people reading this article know it’s bad to have e-cigarettes.

    [Reply]

  16. Tiffany Cheng on February 15th, 2018 11:59 am

    It is surprising to me that kids ages as young as 12 are using e-cigarettes.

    [Reply]

  17. Parker on February 15th, 2018 12:05 pm

    I like this article because it shows how harmful vaping (juuling) can be and it shows how many people are involved in vaping

    [Reply]

  18. Andre Shapiro on February 15th, 2018 12:06 pm

    I think that someone who is vaping should take the time to realize whats in it and stop. if they don’t they look when its to late and they will be addicted, and not stop.

    [Reply]

  19. Andre Shapiro on February 15th, 2018 12:08 pm

    I like how Ursus is spreading awareness for this epidemic that is e-cigerates.

    [Reply]

  20. Kaya Arava on February 15th, 2018 12:08 pm

    I think it is really good that Ursus is telling Bedford this because now I feel that when we get into high school we will be more aware of this, and less people will vape.

    [Reply]

  21. Chloe Francis on February 15th, 2018 12:11 pm

    This article was very interesting, and it brought a lot more awareness to the subject. I think that since its in the school newspaper it shows that it’s a very big problem. I like how at some moments you added things that shocked me like 12 year-olds vape.

    [Reply]

  22. Presley on February 15th, 2018 12:13 pm

    I agree. I think vaping is a terrible thing to do. I really love how you wrote this article! I really liked how you had peoples quotes of what they think of vaping. I think this will encourage people to realize how bad of a impact vaping can make.

    [Reply]

  23. Presley on February 15th, 2018 12:13 pm

    I agree. I think vaping is a terrible thing to do. I really love how you wrote this article! I really liked how you had peoples quotes of what they think of vaping. I think this will encourage people to realize how bad of a impact vaping can make.

    [Reply]

  24. Annabel de Swart on February 15th, 2018 12:13 pm

    I think this is a really good article. I have learn a lot about it, I didn’t now that vaping was a big problem in highschool. I hope that this problem will stop after that people read this article.

    [Reply]

  25. Max on February 15th, 2018 12:35 pm

    I think this is an important topic to discuss. This article explains it well to me.

    [Reply]

  26. Hunter on February 15th, 2018 1:58 pm

    I had no idea this issue was a real big problem among teenagers.

    [Reply]

  27. Sofia Palumbo on February 15th, 2018 1:59 pm

    I agree that kids at a young age shouldn’t be introduced to this. I also think that even though there may not be many health risks, it still is addictive.

    [Reply]

  28. Nick Armentano on February 15th, 2018 2:00 pm

    I think this article is very good and really helps people aware of a world wide issue. Vaping is very bad and unhealthy and should be stopped. It is a disgusting habit and should have consequences if seen in schools.

    [Reply]

  29. Sophie Aflalo on February 15th, 2018 2:01 pm

    I agree with this article and that greater punishments will eventually lead to less vaping in schools, and other places.

    [Reply]

  30. Ethan Gordon on February 15th, 2018 2:14 pm

    I’m very glad that you brought up this issue. This is a very important issue in the high school. I think now that the amount of vaping going on at Staples will lower.

    [Reply]

  31. Domenic on February 15th, 2018 2:18 pm

    I agree on the fact that they said that more kids vape than smoke. They said it was harder to detect vaping than smoking.

    [Reply]

  32. Devon Denkin on February 15th, 2018 2:20 pm

    I did not know that “vaping” was such an issue for teenagers. This article is interesting and an important read for anyone who would like to learn about this emerging issue, juuls.

    [Reply]

  33. Domenic Petrosinelli on February 15th, 2018 2:20 pm

    I am confused on how you can charge juuls in computers

    [Reply]

    Domenic Petrosinelli Reply:

    (New Response) I am confused on how you can charge juuls in computers. How do you charge juuls with a computer?

    [Reply]

  34. Liam Donaldson on February 15th, 2018 2:21 pm

    I think this article was very well put together. That help me understand more. I agree with the article very much and think too that staff members should be able to identify and learn more about it.

    [Reply]

  35. Gabriela de Brito on February 15th, 2018 2:28 pm

    I completely agree with this article. I didn’t know most of the information about vaping before I read this article. I liked how the author of this article included lots of quotes from fellow students of people who are vaping, it helped show that people who are among people who vape think it should stop. There should also be more harsh consequences for vaping, especially during school. If the school board made harsher consequences not as many people would vape and awareness would be spread for it because of the punishments. Overall, this is article is very well written, and I think would convince anyone not to vape.

    [Reply]

  36. arthur the BR legend on February 15th, 2018 2:32 pm

    I agree that vaping is a very bad thing to do and should definitely be stopped. This article is good because it raises awareness for all the middle school students going to high school. Great job!

    [Reply]

  37. Byron Grevious on February 15th, 2018 2:37 pm

    It’s so interesting that e-cigarettes are pointed more toward young people. Also that people consider vaping as a safer chose. I’m very shocked about how kids in Staples are vaping.

    [Reply]

  38. Alex the Fortnite God on February 15th, 2018 2:39 pm

    I found this very interesting. I learned a lot about the things vaping really does to the body. Even though I would never do it but, I understand how kids would be attracted to the smell of flavored vape such as chocolate. This was very interesting and I’m happy it is recognized in the newspaper.

    [Reply]

  39. mason on March 6th, 2018 8:35 am

    I highly agree to the fact that the vaping companies purposefully say that it is “cleaner” to get more teenagers buying e-cigarettes I completely agree with this article. I didn’t know most of the information about vaping before I read this article. I liked how the author of this article included lots of quotes from fellow students of people who are vaping,

    [Reply]

  40. mason on March 6th, 2018 8:35 am

    I think this is an important topic to discuss.I like this article because it shows how harmful vaping (juuling) can be and it shows how many people are involved in vaping

    [Reply]

  41. Iva Radman on March 6th, 2018 8:52 am

    Wow! this. is. amazing. I love how you really chose to talk about problems within our society, like vaping in high school. This is over all really well dont and i like how you showed the effects of it on your body afterwards

    [Reply]

  42. Ava Haazen on March 6th, 2018 8:54 am

    I think it’s repulsive that companies are making e-cigarettes that are flavored chocolate, candy, fruits, etc. so they can attract a younger audience. I think it’s so stupid that 12 year old are vaping.

    [Reply]

  43. Anna Stamoulas on March 6th, 2018 8:57 am

    This article was very well written I like how specific it was and all the examples the article had given us. To show how bad vaping is and the harm of it.

    [Reply]

  44. Sarah McCourt on March 6th, 2018 8:58 am

    I really think that the highschoolers should read this article because they probably dont know that vapeing isnt
    going to give them the “awesome life” they are wishing for. Its going to get them in tons of trouble and it even may show up on their college aplication if they got into detention because of them vaping in the bathroom.

    [Reply]

  45. Andy on March 6th, 2018 10:47 am

    Its interesting how vaping has carried off because of teens thinking that it’s cool. It is clear that kids are the main target because of flavored vapes as officer Batlin said

    [Reply]

  46. Abby on March 6th, 2018 10:48 am

    I like the article but I don’t think that there are so many people vaping that teachers would try and catch them doing it, but otherwise the article is very informational

    [Reply]

  47. Henry Manning on March 6th, 2018 10:51 am

    I am wondering if vaping has second hand smoke like cigarettes?

    [Reply]

  48. Tess on March 6th, 2018 10:58 am

    This article was so interesting! I think it is important to learn abut whats dangerous before we are old enough to make our own assumptions and buy things not knowing they are dangerous.

    [Reply]

  49. Molly on March 6th, 2018 11:01 am

    This is a very interesting article, an it made me want to read more about this topic. I really like how you used quotes from a lot of people to show everyone’s point of view. I think that vaping is a bad thing for teenagers because they can get addicted and start to smoke with regular cigarettes. I liked how you were not biased or leaning towards a certain side. I learned a lot about vaping can affect your body and how common it really is for teenagers to vape. Before I read this, I had no idea that vaping was common in somewhere like Staples! This article i bet has raised a lot of awareness for middle-schoolers, and I hope that in a few years, the problem of teens vaping will be less or stopped.

    [Reply]

  50. Derek on March 6th, 2018 11:02 am

    I liked how it described all the bad sides to vaping and the test that proved it could be just as bad as smoking.

    [Reply]

  51. jay on March 6th, 2018 12:18 pm

    how do kids Even get e-cigarettes? A 12 year old cant go to a store and buy a e-cigarette ?

    [Reply]

  52. sam montagna on March 6th, 2018 12:25 pm

    i wonder how the kids get them if they are under 21

    [Reply]

  53. Sarah Himes on March 6th, 2018 1:47 pm

    This was a very well-written and interesting article. There was a very good use of statistics.

    [Reply]

  54. Dania Hemdan on March 6th, 2018 3:35 pm

    I really think that this issue should be acknowledged and spread more because it is very serious. Kudos to the author of this because it is jam packed with information that is really important.

    [Reply]

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