There is a new trend in the market of nicotine and tobacco usage: vaping. According to North staff, usage that has dramatically increased since last year.
With such an increase, staff and teachers are taking steps to prevent the substance use.
“It began, I would say, at the start of second semester last year. If there’s any kind of vaping issue, the consequences are the same as tobacco, marijuana, or alcohol,” said athletic director Tina Woolard.
Getting students in trouble for using these substances is not the primary concern of the staff.
“I treat the kids here at North like my own kids at home. There are kids who never have and never thought about smoking a cigarette, who are now addicted to nicotine because of juuls and vapes,” said dean Linda Vecchie.
“Those e-cigarettes are backed by Big Tobacco, and do you really want to trust the endorsement from a company that hid information about how bad cigarettes were for your health for decades?” Vecchie said.
While there has been a increase in substance abuse in Grayslake North, according to Woolard, who attends a national athletic director conference annually, this problem has been noted nationwide
Jenny Andersen, the Student Assistance Program (SAP) Coordinator, has ideas about why there is such a dramatic growth in substance abuse.
“I think it’s because of the availability of the vapes, but I also think it’s because these marketing companies know that the fruity flavors make these devices seem harmless,” Andersen said.
Consequences of using tobacco are not limited to school. According to sciencenewsforstudents.org, inhaling the smoke that’s in vapes affects users’ immune systems.
“If I smoked a pack of Marlboros and quit, my lungs would eventually heal themselves. But there’s no evidence of repair from this chemical,” Vecchie said.
Very few studies have been conducted, and the ones that have been conducted, haven’t been around long enough to know and be able to provide warnings for long term effects.
“The unknown is really what’s concerning,” Andersen said.