I started using vapes in high school because I was told by my friends they were “just water vapors” and did not have any negative effects. Then when I got to college I was introduced to the Juul and told a similar thing, that it was like a healthy cigarette. News flash: they are not “healthy.” I realize now that these products should not be used unless someone is actively trying to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes. They will lead to a nicotine addiction which is a tough battle to quit. On top of this, the long term effects of these products are still under research.
I was at Sherando Bike Park around spring time of last year and I met a group of middle school kids riding their bikes through the trails. What shocked me was that they all had Puff Bars. Puff Bars are name brand e-cigarettes that are 5% nicotine, this is about the equivalent of 2-3 packs of cigarettes. It was alarming to me because of how young they were, and it made the problem very apparent to me.
Vapes and E-cigarettes are increasing in popularity and usage among minors. More and more kids are getting hooked on nicotine through these vape devices and this could lead to future health problems or to them using tobacco products in the future. With the increasing usage of nicotine amongst younger kids and especially in highschoolers, I want to shed some light on why you should not “hit the Juul.”
The best way to stop high schoolers and incoming freshmen from vaping or using e-cigarettes is through primary prevention or attacking the problem before it starts. Educating kids on the product, on addiction, and on the cost that using these products will have on them in the long run will be the key to success.
An organization called TruthInitiative is already working to educate youth on the topic, as well as providing help for those who are trying to quit. It says on their website that they “give young people the facts about smoking, vaping, nicotine and the tobacco industry, engage individuals and groups to make change in their communities, innovate ways to end nicotine addiction..”.
They are an organization that is dedicated to helping the youth make the right decision when it comes to nicotine and other substances. If you are curious about starting vaping or just want to know more about the products, I highly recommend you check out their website before you pick up a nic stick.
They released a statistic that stated 60% of e-cigarette users from the ages of 15-24 are actively trying to quit. So if you have not started, learn from this statistic and see that more than half the people who do get addicted want to stop. Your future self will thank you, if you just never start.
Depending on if you vape or know someone who does, challenge yourself or the person you know to quit. Read about the negative effects these products can cause, and focus on the positive health benefits you or your friend could benefit from once the vaping days are over. This is an article that is a good place to start: https://www.uchealth.org/today/4-reasons-why-you-should-stop-vaping/ (4) UCHealth also has support systems similar to TruthInitiave that can help people quit.
I have heard time and time again, “I will stop when I am out of college..” or “I don’t want to be THAT adult that still vapes after college” well the addiction is not just going to disappear after you have a diploma, action needs to be taken now. If you are a highschooler or incoming freshman and you have not started vaping or smoking e-cigarettes then just DON’T START. Take it from someone who battled the addiction for 4 years and is still struggling with it, you do not want to go through it. It is not healthy, it is not cool, and you will save countless dollars that you can use for other more important things like school books, hobbies, or going out to eat with friends.
If you are actively using vapes or e-cigarettes and are thinking about quitting, I’d say go for it. It is not easy but it will be well worth it in the long run. Take it day by day, or hour by hour if you need to. Understand that you are battling your own brain that has been rewired by nicotine, and it will take some will power to break the chains, but it is not impossible, you can do it.