Vaping: Your Right to Make an Informed Decision

Meredith Swanson '21, Staff Writer

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Vaping has recently been a topic of great discussion at Hall, as Principal Zittoun announced a crackdown on vaping on school grounds, and the closing of 4 school bathrooms. In recent years, this practice has been popularized as an alternative to smoking, as it supposedly poses fewer health risks. Vaping is often also marketed as a way to quit smoking.

Speaking of marketing, the way that vapes and e-cigarettes are marketed and perceived in society is extremely misleading, especially to younger, less-educated consumers including high schoolers. The idea of vaping as a way to quit smoking is especially deceptive. Vapes/JUULs, though they do not have the same number of chemicals as cigarettes, are just as addictive, if not more so, than cigarettes. One “pod” used for vaping/JUULing contains as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. Thus, for smokers who wish to quit, vaping should not be thought of as purely a transitional step, but at least somewhat as a shift from one addictive substance to another less harmful one. It is also important to note that some research indicates teen vape/JUUL users may switch to cigarettes later on, making this stated benefit of vaping null and void.

Another misconception about vaping is that vaping and related activities are useful as a study aid, which is the reason why many high school/college students choose to vape. Nicotine use has been shown to dramatically increase the user’s short-term memory. On the other hand, chronic nicotine use has been shown to decrease the creation of new brain cells and decrease working and long-term memory. Long-term nicotine use can inhibit your ability to learn later in life and is loosely linked to depression.

Ultimately, the decision to vape or not is yours. As with any decision, however, it is important to be informed about what you are choosing to do. Although vaping does not have the same number of risks as smoking, it still poses some risks, and can be very expensive. As an informed consumer, you also need to recognize the effect that advertising may have on you. Whatever you choose, at least make sure you know what you are getting into.

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