Vape Culture in North American High Schools
How This Relatively New Obsession May Be More Permanent Than You Think
A sudden storm has taken over the teenage lives, by the name of vaporizers, or "vapes." Although it's not just high school kids using them, they run rampant in the schools, and it seems everyone attending has either tried it, or owns a vape. This is not to say that high-schoolers do not smoke cigarettes, or marijuana, or do other drugs, but there's something so enticing about vaping that gets them interested and hooked.
So, what is it about vaporizers that is so interesting to teens?
Not only does the 'juice' used in vapes come in a variety of flavors from mango, and menthol, to bubblegum, and cotton candy, but the vape capsules come in a wide range of colours, designs, and sizes. You have ones the size, and similar shape of a USB drive, to ones that are the shape of a box and the size of a fist.
To add onto that, there are tricks teens can do with the smoke, as they exhale that they could not do with other forms of smoke inhalants. Many times, the vape smoke is referred to as a "fat cloud," if it's thick and ideal for performing tricks like making rings.
Perhaps it's just the idea and aesthetic of it? Maybe not?
I'll admit, I having tried vaping, it's satisfying to blow a large cloud out of your mouth, and the taste of the juice afterwards can be good. But there is more to it than that. The juice contains nicotine. Some juice has no nicotine at all, while many others at very high, very addictive amounts. Having never even heard of such a thing called a 'vape,' until my sophomore year, as a senior, it seems every person I know has one nowadays.
Although usually, vapes are not always predominantly used by males, as there's a growing trend with females using them as much as males. Why? They seem more feminine. if the vapes are pink or purple coloured or the juice tastes like cherry, what's stopping them from using the same thing as the boys?
When it Was Always Too Much
Many times I've heard and read that there is no indication of long-term impacts of vaping on the regular, and this has me very concerned because we cannot do studies on long-term affects, because they are so new.
The entire generation currently in, going into, and having graduated from high school is using vapes. There have been ads upon ads on my own phone from the government informing me on the implications of vaping. These ads depict teens offering each other these Vaporizers, and without even thinking about it, they inhale them. The lingo associated with using a vape is "hitting." Endless times I've heard "let me hit that," and already I know they're referring to vapes.
Not only is underage vaping, and buying of vaporizers illegal, but kids still manage to get their hands on them. One way that I know of is through the dozens of stores that now plague my hometown, that didn't even exist five years ago, and now there's too many to count. I've heard stories of teens waltzing in and buying juice and the vapes themselves, without being ID'd, just because the stores make too much money from the high school age crowd that it's worth it. "Make sure you only go in after 5PM because they don't ask for an ID,"I heard that one too. My friends got away with buying without being ID'd, and that's when I realized this was out of hand.
Take it seriously...
Now, I have heard many things about vaping that has me a worried. Not to say these are 100 percent true and proven, but the idea that these were even mentioned in relation to vaping is concerning. Hearing that vaping can cause seizures, nicotine poisoning, and even death by explosion of a vaping module, is enough for anyone to step back and rethink the entire idea of using vaporizers.
Clearly, that is why I've done my own research, as can you, to see just how important it is to know all about what you put into your body, and the effects it can have. Nicotine itself is bad for the brain, as everyone should know and have read online, and when it affects developing brains of teens that's when it becomes a bigger issue.
If you are a parent of a child that vapes, or an adult that uses one for yourself, it's hardly fair for me to tell you to stop, or to influence your child to stop, because it is your choice. However, anything in moderation will not have as big of an affect as chronic use, and from what I've noticed around the high school community, vaping is something that needs to be used in moderation, and ideally, not be used at all.