In an anti-smoking ad from the early 2000s, a teenage boy in an old gas station demands “a pack of cigarettes, please” as he puts about $5 on the counter.
“That’s not enough,” the cashier responds. The teen proceeds to pull out his tooth, then grabs the cigarettes and walks out of the store. This commercial shows how harmful smoking is to a human’s body — it can cost a smoker their teeth, heart, lungs, and even their life.
Today, cigarette smoking amongst teenagers has decreased, largely due to anti-smoking campaigns, but the popularity of new vaping devices have taken over this generation.
The trend of e-cigarettes, or more commonly known as vapes, has become an unhealthy rage for teenagers, and has become one of the largest concerns throughout society. Studies show that the use of vaping devices surged within the last year, especially amongst high school students.
Statistics display that 24% of 10th grade students and 28% of 12th graders use these cigarette replacements, according to Psychiatric News.
This trend skyrocketed through young adults in 2018. As a ninth grader, I’ve witnessed students vaping on social media accounts such as Snapchat and Instagram, which shows how people as young as 14 years old can commit to poor habits.
There are plenty of reasons for why minors pick up this unhealthy lifestyle. A Santa Clarita local who requested to remain anonymous shared her reasons for picking up the habit of vaping.
“I think it depends on the person, but I do it because it makes me feel good. I don’t know how to describe it, but I’ve never felt anything like it before,” she said. “Last year I was against it, but now that my friends use it, I wanted to try it. They told me that it would be fun, so I tried it.”
Many say they vape for stress relief and because of peer pressure.
Because many vape users are teens, it is no surprise they use vaping as an escape from external stressors that are affecting them. Like anything, the more young people use vapes, the more popularity it gains.
From a health standpoint, many people have the perception that e-cigarettes are better alternatives than cigarettes, but vaping raises other health concerns. Inhaling the toxins in vape devices cause long term impacts to the body, such as heart disease.
According to LiveScience, nicotine is a cardiovascular stimulant drug and can worsen heart disease for those who already have severe heart conditions.
The nicotine in the liquid, which is also known as “juice,” damage the blood vessels that flow to the heart, which can contribute to risk of heart diseases, according to LiveScience.
Most people know the cons of vaping, but the real question is: why do people continue to do it?
Pop culture and society push new agendas, products, and, yes, vaping too, so it is time that the voice of our generation is heard. Together, we need to protect ourselves from the dangers that lurk behind the cloak of social acceptance.