By: Marry Ousmane
During her freshman year Gabriella said she got into vaping. It started because some of her friends started using electronic cigarettes.
“Being light headed is the only thing that matters to me because it feels good,” she said. “It’s very addicting because of the feeling, the flavor and just everything about it.”
Gabriella is not alone. There are many students, both at Murrow and across the country, who are vaping, which is supposedly a healthier alternative to cigarette smoking because you are not inhaling the toxic chemicals and tar that are associated with cigarettes.
A lot of the e-cigarette popularity comes from vaping Juul, the electronic cigarette company which says they market to adults as a healthier alternative to smoking. However, teenagers also find it popular because they’re cheap – cost around $16 plus the nicotine pods — and are readily available.
But teens also love the fact they are easily concealable as they are shaped like a flash drive and a discerning adult sees it as a USB rather than an e-cigarette.
Critics say another reason why Juul is so popular is because of its flavors such as peach green tea, black mamba, and frozen lime drop.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal poll, the number of high school students who vaped in the last 30 days has risen roughly 75 percent since last year. That’s roughly about 3 million high school students.
“Vaping is a huge problem because kids are doing it in the hallways,” said dean Mr. James Patsaricas. “I noticed a kid the other day not holding the device but sucking on the insert so I took that away from him.”
Mr. Patsaricas, as well as many adults worry about how harmful effects e-cigarettes could have on a teenager. The pods contain nicotine, which is an addictive drug.
According to the city’s discipline code, students can’t get suspended for vaping in the hallways unless they are caught using marijuana with it.
“Usually the first thing we say is for them to give it up,” said Patsaricas, referring to the cartridge. “If they deny and say they don’t have anything then they get it confiscated.”
How many students who are vaping at the school is unknown but most teens said they started vaping because their friends were doing it as well.
“I started vaping because my friends did,” said Gabriella, “and I kind of got addicted to it.”
Trixie said she likes vaping and her parents are aware of it and claims that they are even fine with it.
“I don’t even know how my mom found out but I think she saw all the pods, cause my sister does it,” said the senior. “Also she doesn’t really care.”
Senior Samar said she also vapes and goes to her neighborhood Hookah lounge to smoke. She said that vaping is not really the same as smoking a cigarette. “It depends if it has nicotine in it or not,” said Samar. “I also just realized you can order hookah without nicotine in it.”
Nick, a sophomore, said he got into vaping because he got stressed easily. “Teachers would always complain about my grades so I just got stressed out and that’s how it happened,” he said.