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  • Writer's pictureEast Spotlight Newspaper

Vaping or Cigarettes? Which is Worse?

Vaping is a newer concept that has been around since 2003. It was created as an alternative to smoking cigarettes - but in reality, it is much worse than cigarettes. An average vape has the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes - 2 packs, explains The National Institutes of Health. According to the FDA, 14.1% of high schoolers vape, which is about 2.14 million students across the world. In 2021, Cross River Therapy counted 55 million e-cigarette users worldwide.

Vapes are marketed directly toward younger people such as teenagers. With the bright colors and fruity flavors like banana ice, strawberry, watermelon, candy, youth are more attracted to buying nicotine products. Zyn’s are also a problem in high schools; they are capsules of nicotine that are inserted between the lip and gum and they contain 6 milligrams of nicotine in a single pouch. Since there are 8 milligrams of nicotine in a single cigarette, as claimed by BioMed Central, putting one Zyn in your mouth is considered not as bad as smoking one cigarette. Although, since the capsule goes straight on the gum, people who use them have a higher susceptibility to gum disease.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the effects of vaping vary for adults and teenagers. In adults, vaping or ingesting nicotine in any form can cause an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, blood flow to the heart, and a narrowing of the arteries. But in teenagers, nicotine harms the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control. So the effects can differ depending on age, and teenagers are already more prone to addiction than adults due to the development of the brain, and addiction can impact the ability to focus.

Vaping has become a significant issue among high schoolers in recent years. As explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2021, one out of four high school students reported using “e-cigarettes” in the past 30 days. Vaping can be particularly harmful to young people, as their brains are still developing and are more liable to the negative effects of nicotine. Some of the many negative effects of vaping include nicotine addiction, harmed brain development, respiratory problems, and the increased risk of using other drugs.

I asked Mrs. Nichols, the drug and alcohol specialist in the clinic, some questions about e-cigarettes at East…

  • What is the concequence of being caught vaping at East?

  • Students get nicotine products taken away, and get their backpacks searched. Parents are called, you get a referral to an education program to learn about laws and effects of vaping for the first time being caught and for the second time being caught, a nicotine help group referral, if you comply the referrals come off your record, however, if you refuse then the referral stays on the record.

- Do you think the consequence should be more or less strict? Or is the consequence now good enough?

- I feel like we have a good system in place, less than 4% of students get caught a second time.

- Why do you think students vape even though it is so harmful to a young brain?

- Often times its because of natural curiosity, curiosity about flavors and it seeming to be fun, nicotine just being around them in their everyday lives.

  • Other things you want students to know?

Nicotine is an extermemly addictive and powerful drug. And if you want to quit vaping, or atleast try, you do not have to get in trouble to work in the health office with me.

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