Before the 2010s, it was taboo to see someone using an e-cigarette or vape product; however, the last decade has shown exponential growth in people using these commodities because of social statuses. The real danger in regard to these products is what people don’t know.
Though controversy has spread after six reported deaths that are allegedly due to vaping and e-cigarettes, there is still research to be done for long term effects.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), manufacturers are not required to report the ingredients within their vape products. They also did a poll where 66 percent of users believed that flavoring was the only ingredient within the juice and product, while 13 percent actually responded that nicotine was an active component.
Health teacher Carolyn Gaffke shares that teens are among the targeted age group that manufacturers advertise to. One of the main ways is with flavoring of the juice, which include bubblegum, cotton candy and fruit. However, since there isn’t enough long term research, doctors are still unaware as to whose health could be jeopardized.
“We don’t know who is most at risk from these products, not only for the people who use them, but what if there’s effects for breathing in second hand? The safety net that teens assume will be safe could potentially be the most harmful,” Gaffke said.
Easy distribution has also impacted the vaping community. Kids as young as early middle school (NIDA) are having access to these products and are being exposed to usage earlier.
“It gets to the point where I wonder if my third graders know anybody that may have a vape. These are kids who are now growing up in this era of vapes,” Gaffke said.
Grayslake North recognizes this predicament and has taken action to maintain a drug free environment. The administration has created an anonymous QR code that will report incidents of vaping at school.
“These codes are located outside every bathroom in the school. The purpose it to have a resource for students to record instances where they witness their peers inappropriately using vapes during school,” said associate principal Megan Licht.
Research will continue in regards to vape and e- cigarette users and the physical effects on their minds and bodies. Who knows what will be the outcome; nevertheless, teens should stay cautionary toward the unknown. North should continue its education and inform of the potential dangers to vaping. As for society, we need to consider the factors that could potentially harm ourselves. It is for the best that we stay safer than sorry.