The Toll of Vaping

Image courtesy of

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At our own school, the addiction to vaping has taken a toll on student’s health and has affected others’ ability to learn in the classroom. Juuls are a type of e-cigarette which shape resembles a USB flash drive or pen, making it easy to conceal at school. Juuls use nicotine salt liquid cartridges, or Juul pods, that come in many flavors and are changeable. These e-cigarettes are battery powered and are charged with a standard USB port. 

Former student, Adam Hergenreder, is a prime example of how Juuls have affected the health of students at Warren. Hergenreder would get his Juul and Juul pods from a gas station in his neighborhood. The gas station did not card or ask for any identification. He started using a Juul at the age of 16 and soon after, Juul pods were not enough for him. He began to get tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of cannabis or marijuana, from a dealer to use in combination with his Juul. He is now paying the toll of his actions. He seeked out medical attention after having fits of nausea. His doctor then told him that it was because he was vaping. After doing an x-ray of his lungs, his doctor said his lungs now resemble a 70-year-old’s because of the extensive amounts of vaping he did. Hergenreder is now suing both the gas station from which he got his Juul as well as Juul Labs itself for selling to underage kids and for advertising child-friendly flavors to draw kids in.

In an interview with CNN News, Hergenreder gave his rationale for using e-cigarettes as, “I first started vaping just to fit in, because everyone else was doing it,”. This reasoning is not uncommon; in fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services noted the rate among teens that have three or more friends who smoke is 10 times higher than those that reported none of their friends smoke. 

In a time of major change and discovery, adolescents base most of their decisions on the opinions of their classmates and peers, the people around them 7 hours a day for 5 days a week. From ‘who to date’ or ‘what to wear’ to ‘whether they should vape or not’, these decisions are made based on what everyone else is doing or supporting. Peer pressure like this can make students feel trapped or stuck, leading to harmful and irresponsible decisions.

Peer pressure to try vaping is not the only way those who vape affect those around them. Just like how cigarettes can cause second-hand smoking problems, Juuls can also cause the same problems. The vapor that is released from the Juul carries ultrafine particles, nicotine, and toxins that are proven to cause cancer. The ultrafine particles that are in the vapor can cause many problems for those who have asthma. The particles can also constrict arteries, which can lead to possible heart attacks. So not only are those who vape harming themselves, they are also putting the people around them at risk. 

Here at Warren, bathrooms, classes, and after school events have become common places for students to vape. Often times these places have little-to-no supervision, making it quite easy to pull one out for a couple of puffs.  In order for this to stop, our teachers need to be better educated on what a Juul looks like, how it is used, and the potential aftereffects of it. This, in partnership with more discussions on the negative affects of Juuls, could better educate students and cut down on the use of Juuls. However, for any of this to occur, the administration has to take the first step. It is imperative for the well-being and effectiveness of our school that our Administration gets involved and takes a stance against vaping before its too late.