The Vaping Epidemic

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Lydia Wood, Staff Reporter

A new form of smoking is sweeping the nation. Killing lungs and sickening people, the unknown effects of this craze are more than dangerous.

The “new cigarettes” are called e-cigarettes, or vapes. The main difference between these and a cigarette is the smoke. The e-cigarettes release a vapor that the user inhales. Unlike its counterpart, the traditional cigarette, the vapor that is released does not smell as strongly and the user doesn’t inhale smoke. Sounds great right? 

Wrong.

When e-cigarettes first came out, they seemed to be widely accredited for being safer and less addictive than the traditional cigarette. While it’s true that one does not face all the exact same problems, such as smoker lung, there are still many other problems with this device.

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. This is the same addictive agent that is found in cigarettes. With this additive, people are worried that e-cigarettes will become a gateway to using actual cigarettes or other drugs. As a teen or young adult, a person’s brain is still working on developing and nicotine can be very harmful to young brains. These products effects productive thinking and problem-solving capabilities.

While the legal age to buy e-cigarettes in Texas is 21 as of Sept. 1,  this does not mean vaping isn’t also rampant among minors.

The e-cigarette is not only addicting, but very harmful.

The flavored chemicals and diacetyl used in most e-cigarettes are harmful and can cause popcorn lung. Popcorn lung, or Bronchiolitis Obliterans, is a disease that damages the smallest airways in your lungs and can cause coughing and shortness of breath.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), they’re have been 2,051 reports of e-cigarette and vape caused lung injuries. As scientists do not know the exact compound that is causing lung injury, there is no such thing as vaping without risk.

However dangerous vaping was before, now with the addition of being sold illegally, it’s only gotten worse. NBC News conducted an experiment to see how different the illegal vape carts were from their legal twins. The difference was shocking. They found that illegal vapes carried myclobutanil, a fungicide, that when burned, can become hydrogen cyanide, a deadly gas.

Another ‘addicting’ part of the vape is that they can be small and easy to hide, as they don’t have a lit end and users can keep them covered.This is a draw for people, who can sneak them places.

Another thing that helps the e-cigarettes to camouflage their way into schools, is that as previously mentioned, there is no need to light up. The e-cigarettes emit a vapor, hence the nickname ‘vape’ which can slowly be released so as not to cause suspicion. The different smells that are emitted with the vapor are, while still potent, not the same as the smells associated with a cigarette. 

These e-cigarettes are not completely understood products. We are virtually human lab rats for the people making and producing these items. They are as dangerous as they are addictive. Inhaling the flavored chemicals to your lungs is seriously harmful. E-cigarettes are harmful, stop the epidemic before it spreads any further and don’t vape.