WestSide Story

Vaping: Not even once

Back to Article
Back to Article

Vaping: Not even once

Nic Sloan, Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Many believe vaping is a viable substitute for smoking, but the truth is it’s actually almost just as damaging. Vaping has become an increasing risk among teens in the US, including here at Skyline. There is a false belief among many people across the nation that vaping is a healthy substitute to smoking, and while it sometimes can be, all that is accomplished by vaping is choosing the lesser of two evils. Choosing vaping over smoking does not make a big enough difference to make a real impact on health. Both are potentially deadly.

   Teen vaping is a widespread problem across the US and other countries. In the US, it is illegal for a minor to own or purchase a vaporizer (vape). Each state has different laws regarding the actual use of electronic cigarettes, but according to the Idaho Statutes Section 39-5703 “It shall be unlawful for a minor to possess, receive, purchase, use or consume tobacco products or electronic cigarettes or to attempt any of the foregoing.”

  However, this law doesn’t stop students here at Skyline from using electronic cigarettes. “There are a lot of kids that do it,” Skylines resource officer John Cowley said. “It causes not only legal issues, such as the fact that you must be at least 18 years old to possess vapes and it’s products, but it also causes a health issue for the kids that are doing it.”  Consequences for minors found using electronic cigarettes are also impactful for students. “If I or anyone else catches them with a vape or oil, I will write them a ticket for a $75 fixed penalty… I wrote 6 tickets just last week alone,” Cowley said.

  So why do students do it? “I like the cloud,” Keegan Storer (12) said. “That’s why I vape.” Unlike many other students who vape, Storer is 18-years-old, making it legal for him. “I don’t do it at school, I just like it personally… If there was a better way to just blow clouds than I’d definitely choose that over vaping,” Storer said.

  “Honestly, I started vaping because all of my friends were doing it. During the summer I kind of felt left out so I started and then I bought my own. I like it because it’s fun to work on tricks, and it’s really addicting. I know it’s not the best for you and people tell me that, but I probably won’t stop anytime soon. I like how it tastes and how it makes me feel. It really is a hobby at this point.” a junior at Skyline said.

  The speculation that vaping is safe is only due to the fact that vaping has only been around for a short time. Unlike tobacco products such as cigarettes, the effects of vaping have only been observed for around a decade. “In my personal experience, there’s not really a long term yet, it’s still a new thing,” Storer said. However, as time progresses scientists across the nation are discovering more long-term effects of vaping on the body.

  The effects of vaping are nearly the exact same as the effects of smoking tobacco. Gum disease, bleeding mouths and throats, tooth loss, bronchiolitis obliterans (AKA popcorn lung), lung cancer, the list goes on. Recent studies have also shown that just 5 minutes of vaping can stiffen the heart and blood vessels. A common misconception is that vaping is just simply inhaling harmless water vapor; however, there’s much more to it. “You introducing an awful lot of steam and water into your lungs, and your lungs don’t deal well in that environment. So it causes a lot of respiratory problems” Cowley said.

  On top of mental risks, vapes themselves are dangerous. “They have a risk of blowing up, and causing physical damage,” Skyline Health teacher Robyn King said. In fact, a local man from Pocatello made it to national news when he had a vape blow up in his face and caused him to lose 7 teeth. He also suffered second degree burns to his face and neck. In fact, the explosion was so powerful that it completely broke a chunk of his bathroom sink off, which is where he was vaping. This one explosion caused him major damage to his throat, face, cosmetic appearance, and his house  as well. Even though he was once a avid vaper, he now has vowed to stop vaping, and recommends others to as well.

  Vaping liquids contain many of the same disease-causing-chemicals used in cigarettes and other tobacco products. These chemicals include, but are not limited to the following: Nicotine, Acetaldehyde, Cadmium, Formaldehyde, Isoprene, Lead, Nickel, N-Nitrosonornicotine, and Toluene. These chemicals are not safe to enter your body, and can cause all the diseases previously listed. “They are a lot more dangerous than people realize, they’re still nicotine addictive,” King said.

  Many vaping fluids contain nicotine, the main, and most dangerous ingredient in tobacco products. Nicotine is the chemical that causes addiction. “I don’t like nicotine vaping, I don’t like feeling unhealthy and gross,” Storer said. Once your body becomes exposed to nicotine, it begin to feel like it needs nicotine to survive, when in reality it will just harm you more. Nicotine is even more dangerous than the infamous street drug heroin, as well as more addictive. So as a result of this some vapers are under the common assumption that vaping with non-nicotine liquids is completely safe. However, it is still extremely unhealthy for you.

  Plenty of research has been conducted on the effects of vaping without nicotine, and it has proven to be harmful. The flavoring in vaporizer liquids is very toxic to the body. “The studies that have been done on vaping show that even the most mild liquids have far more cancer causing agents than tobacco,” Cowley said. “They’re pretty much just flavored cigarettes.” These appealing flavors, while they made be safe to consume in foods, are not safe to inhale. One reason for this is because these flavors are made with all the dangerous chemicals listed earlier, not real foods. Another reason is that these chemicals can kill off cells in your system. One study conducted by Irfan Rahman at the University of Rochester in New York found that chemicals in vaping liquids killed off white blood cells. White blood cells are the cells responsible for fighting off infection and other harmful bacteria found in your bloodstream. Less white blood cells means more bacteria and disease. More bacteria and disease means a weaker immune system. “I’m aware of the short term risks, but like I was saying earlier, if there was a safer way to just blow clouds then I’d definitely choose that,” Storer said.

  The risks of vaping extend past physical threats. Vaping can also cause mental health risks and disease as well. According to Judy Zelikoff and her team at New York University’s Langone Medical Center in Tuxedo, New York, vaping can affect one’s genes. These specific genes they affected were genes that code for behavior and mental health. Zelikoff and her team conducted experiments by exposing mice to e-cigarettes vapor, both laced and unlaced with nicotine. With the nicotine tests, they found that being exposed to the vapor changed activity of 148 genes in the mices’ frontal cortices.  But surprisingly, with non-nicotine vapors they found that more than 830 genes had been significantly changed. And indeed, with these changes in genes they found significant changes in the mices’ behavior. Also, as a side observation, Zelikoff’s team found that the mice had a much higher increase of failed reproduction.

    Overall, whether it’s vapor, nicotine, or tobacco the only safe thing to enter your lungs is clean, fresh air.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
The Official Online Newspaper of Skyline High School
Vaping: Not even once