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E-Cigs declared National Epidemic among teens

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Vape it or Leave it

Celeste Hoover, Design Editor

Bill! Bill! Bill!

Most of us remember sitting in front of the Smartboard and singing along to Bill Nye the science guy’s theme song in our elementary classrooms. He taught us about the water cycle, inertia, and most recently, e-cigarettes. That’s right, our favorite childhood scientist has taken a hard stance against vaping in a recent interview.

Cigarettes don’t kill you fast enough so you have to tech it up,”

— Bill Nye

But Nye isn’t alone. Last December, the US Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, voiced his concern about the addiction that affects 20% of all American high school students.

“I am officially declaring e-cigarette use among youth an epidemic in the United States,” Adams said at a news conference. “Now is the time to take action. We need to protect our young people from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.”

This stark declaration could not have come at a more appropriate time. According to a Monitoring the Future survey, 2018 saw e-cigarettes have the biggest one-year spike of any substance abuse by young people. Researchers added that the increase was twice as large as the previous record for a year-over-year increase in vaping by seniors.

Kids will tell me about seeing it in the bathrooms,” Ms. Carter, Cinco’s health science teacher, said. “I’ve heard about an increase from them. We look into vaping during our current events session, and students will analyze articles that show the health effects of it. I had a group of students that looked into a story about, not the chemicals, but the damage the heat of the vapor can do to you.”

National health officials claim the rise of Juuls, a brand of e-cigarettes, are largely to blame. After entering the market in 2015, the Juul Labs company has risen to provide about 72% of e-cigarette usage. However, the sudden popularity is no surprise. The corporation was accused last July of marketing their product towards minors, and despite the amendments made to their website and various cash pledges, word of mouth continues to advertise ‘Juuling’. What we as students often forget, or never knew at all, is that while e-cigarettes like Juul pods are tobacco free, they contain many carcinogens and addictive products. Including nicotine.

“E-cigarettes contain the same chemicals as cigarettes,” Carter said. “Neither are regulated, and both have nicotine, and if cigarettes contain jet fuel now I think we can say e-cigarettes might as well. It’s not just water vapor you know.”

For nearly 10 years the FDA has reported “detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals to which users could be exposed” in e-cigarettes. In 2017, a study in the Public Library of Science Journal showed dangerous amounts of formaldehyde and benzene in several popular brands. Both of these chemicals are classified as probable carcinogens. Not to mention the literal dozens of other long-term health risks associated with e-cigarettes.

“The body’s reaction to many of the chemicals in traditional cigarette smoke causes long-lasting inflammation,” the National Center for Health Research reported. “Which in turn leads to chronic diseases like bronchitis, emphysema, and heart disease. Since e-cigarettes also contain many of the same toxic chemicals, there is no reason to believe that they will significantly reduce the risks for these diseases.”

Unfortunately, there’s also no reason to believe that the popularity of vaping will significantly reduce. The numbers continue to rise, as does the pressure. As cliche as it sounds, it’s more important now than ever before that we as a school ‘just say no’.

As Nye once said, “It’s important that our children are raised to be educated, citizens that understand the importance of technology and science.” So make Bill proud, understand the importance of your health, and let go of the juul.

 

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