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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

Why Vaping is the Ultimate Lesson in Irony

The American high school experience would be solely incomplete if you haven’t experienced someone vaping in your presence at least once by end of freshman year Normally it’s in the bathroom, as a group of students gather around each other by the sinks, and the distinct smell of artificial watermelon wafts into your stall.

By no means am I attempting to shame anyone who partakes in this activity, because it is wholly and utterly your decision what you decide to do in your spare time. Being a teenager means taking chances and experiencing new things that can help shape what you want your future to look like.

My intention is not to preach, lecture, or sound like the intimidating anti-vape campaign ads that are plastered all over social media. However, it’s extremely important that every student is aware of the different risks and potential future consequences that come along with vaping.

The vape, also known as the e-cigarette, was invented by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik in 2003. Lik was addicted to smoking traditional (combustible) cigarettes, and after his father passed away from lung cancer, he became determined to find a healthier way to manage his nicotine problem.

Although nicotine patches are effective, Lik continued to pursue different avenues, and eventually decided upon recreating the combustible cigarette in electronic form. 

According to Britannica, the device works with the use of a battery, which heats the liquid in the cartridge, alongside the use of an atomizer vaporizing the liquid, which then finally emits as a mist that the user inhales.

The vape itself has evolved much farther past Lik’s original design, and there are hundreds of different electronic cigarette distributors in circulation, all with one common audience; teenagers. The most popular flavors consist of bubble gum, cotton candy, mango, strawberry, and other typically juvenile tastes.

Despite all of Lik’s supposed good intentions, Gen Z and Millenials are now just as hooked on vapes as Gen X and Baby Boomers were on traditional cigarettes. It seems totally and utterly ironic that this device which was created to help bring an end to nicotine addiction has passed on the endless cycle of smoking to yet another generation.

Teenagers are the most susceptible to the highly addictive qualities of nicotine, and according to Children’s Hospital Colorado, “one cartridge alone contains roughly the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes.”

Unfortunately, yet unsurprisingly, adolescents within the ages of 13-17 seems to be the main audience that all e-cigarette companies market towards. It’s seen in not just the different flavors, but the sleek packaging, attention-catching billboards, and, of course, social media.

This seems to all be intentional on behalf of vape distributors, as they are well aware of the fact that teenagers are most likely to be addicted and utilize this to their advantage in order to achieve the most profit. Once you’re hooked, you’re hooked, and without putting in consistent time and effort to fall out of your addiction, people will always continue to reach for their vape pen despite any potential medical or financial consequences.

For example, an ELFBAR is roughly $12-$20, and the official website states they last between 2-4 days. This means teenagers could be spending upwards of $80 per week on their vape, all for their lungs to be hit with irreversible health damage. 

Vapes contain chemicals such as acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde, and the inhalation of which can contribute to lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. Nicotine can also have a massive impact on the mental health of the user, as the Children’s Hospital Colorado states that “teens who use nicotine show lower cognitive function, shorter attention spans and increased impulsivity, depression and anxiety in adulthood.”

The most ironic part of it all? According to the American Lung Association, “The Food and Drug Administration has not found any e-cigarette to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit.”

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