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The Vaping Epidemic

Whether it is students vaping in the bathroom between classes, students doing it in the middle of class, or a vape pen causing a school-wide evacuation during an AP exam, vaping is an obvious problem at Camas High School, and it appears it is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Years ago, schools struggled with students smoking cigarettes on campus during school hours. For a while, scientists researched different ways that they could convince people that these drugs, were really bad for their health. Eventually, smoking cigarettes became very restricted on when and where you could go to satisfy your craving. January 1st, 1995, a nationwide law went into effect saying how you had to be at least 20 feet away from a public building in order to smoke anything whether it’s vaping, smoking a cigarette, or marijuana.

“I don’t necessarily think it’s the smart decision,” explained Camas teacher Mrs. Jill Fuller. “I think that a lot of them are doing it because they think it’s cool or they are may be doing it because they if it’s with nicotine, they don’t want to drink, so maybe it’s another option for them.”

Fuller said that she has not directly had issues with students doing this in her class, but she has had fellow teachers say that they have had issues with students vaping in their classrooms. It is harder for teachers to detect vaping due to the discreet design of the pen. Students are able to hide it in articles of clothing such as sleeves, and hoodies.

“I think there’s still a lot of unknown as far as the harm, the addiction….that’s why, to me, it’s a really scary thing,” Fuller claimed. “Because in the past at least with cigarettes, it was easy to track how much you’ve had, but with the vape, I don’t think people really know how much they are consuming,” Fuller explained concerningly.

Fuller wants the best for students. She doesn’t like to see them making these poor decisions that could really ruin their health. Many teens believe that vaping is better for you than smoking cigarettes, yet what they don’t know, is while it may be better, it’s still not a logical choice. Vaping may not have all the different disgusting chemicals that cigarettes do, but the effects of the nicotine that vaping contains are still catastrophically dangerous.

Many teens do not understand the health risks, and mistakenly believe that there are none. Vape liquids can contain nicotine which is a highly addictive drug. Nicotine interferes with memory and attention processing, especially in a teenage brain. Vapes can also contain marijuana, flavoring agents, and many other chemicals. Vaping has been proven to increase the risk that a teen will smoke regular cigarettes later in their life. So, with all these health risks, why would a student want to start vaping? Olivia Kuhnel, a sophomore at Camas High School, thinks, “People just think it looks cool, so more people just keep doing it.”

Vaping at Camas and at other high schools around the nation have been getting increasingly worse since last year. Alexis Williams, a sophomore at Camas High School, comments, “It’s a big problem and I don’t think it’s getting any better. I think it’s getting worse. Especially in the bathrooms at lunch.”

According to a study from late last year, from the University of Michigan, eleven percent of high school seniors, eight percent of sophomores, and 3.5 percent of eighth-graders reported vaping with nicotine in the past month. According to students, most vaping at Camas occurs in the bathrooms.

Whether it is inside or outside of school, students should not start participating in this growing problem. Vaping now can cause a lot of problems later in a person’s life such as addiction to other drugs, and health problems including heart disease. So, do not contribute to this growing epidemic that has begun to take over students lives.  

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