Just as in the ‘70s and ‘80s influences on the lives of highschool students included cigarettes, this generation is dealing with another health crisis. Vaping.
As many know, vaping is a form of nicotine intake that has swept teenagers and young adults throughout the world. As it is much easier to obtain a vape, more students are buying and using them. The concern of the matter is that it has presented itself at Nantyr Shores S.S. just like many other Canadian schools.
With other generations slowly educating their kids about the dangers of cigarettes and e-cigs, our generation sort of missed that pep talk. With anti-drug campaigns and awareness presentations, students did learn about the effects and consequences of drug use. But as soon as the new big thing hit, they were out the door buying.
There are harmful chemicals in the oil within a vape: propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, and natural or artificial food-grade flavourings. Those are the things that teenagers are putting into their body with every “hit” of a vape.
Just saying that it is dangerous won’t make teenagers simply reconsider. Telling them all of the dangers of vaping doesn’t really translate into the minds of rebellious teenagers. The dangers are there and there is no doubt that the young adults that do vape surely know what they are.
Vaping at such a young age can affect brain function and lead to a future addiction to cigarettes and other drugs. Needless to say, the young adults who choose to vape are in full control of their lives but there is a cost to their extremely difficult addiction.
There is an idea that vaping is the status quo: that may be. Looking around at highschools and the teenagers of today, it seems that many of them are in possession of a vaping device. What does this cost them?
The financial cost. Most vaping devices are roughly $20 - $40. The higher end of that range being a higher calibre device with more oil and higher nicotine percentage per ml. A 20 dollar vape would probably last the average person 5 days. That would mean that every 5 days, $20 dollars is spent and at that amount, $120 is gone every month.
The addiction. That's the real threat to the lives of the students who do vape. A study done in 2019 says that “adolescents who use e-cigarettes are more likely to use [cigarettes] later in life”. Another study also stated that “That close to 90% of adult daily smokers started before the age of 18. Thus, e-cigarettes are effectively helping to create a new generation addicted to nicotine”.
The social cost. How does the school deal with all of the ruffians who rule the bathrooms with a blaring gaze. The rule in school is that students may not smoke, vape or possess drugs on school property. So once a student gets caught, it is an immediate suspension. It does seem quite ridiculous that students can’t go outside, walk 50 feet away from the property and do as they please.
Fact: It is illegal to sell or supply minors with nicotine and is illegal for them to even possess it. Most teenagers can buy a vape without being 19 or even have an ID. Under the Ontario Tobacco Act it is Illegal to give or sell anyone under the age of 19 nicotine and illegal for them to use nicotine on school property. Once caught the person must be fined by the school, $350 for possession and an additional $950 for giving it to another student. Today's youth, as in generations past, simply has a knack for rebellious tendencies.
But - schools simply can’t let students vape and smoke on school property. Fact: it is illegal, since it is private property and most students are minors. The sheer amount of students that do possess a vape and use it regularly have addictions that can lead to further mental health deterioration and further addiction. A vaping addiction can lead to smoking which can lead to other drug use and before you know it, you’re sick.
In a world where mental health and addiction are more serious than ever, we all need to fight the current vaping epidemic.
Considering these costs of vaping, we should make sure this generation does not pick up the habit. Just a thought.