Health concerns arise from teen vaping

As young smokers reach a record decline, young vapers risk similar problems


  Granite Bay High School has been consumed by a new tradition. Partly caused by high school’s historic guidelines of the need to “fit in,” the craze resembles an ambiguous attempt to blur the lines between recreational fun and harmful toxins.

  The new phenomenon? None other than our generation’s current favorite past time – vaping.

  Vaping is a common term for the use of e-cigarettes, a device wherein the user inhales and exhales vapor, usually containing a liquid traced with nicotine.

  “Honestly this (vaping) thing is just a fad and I’m not gonna do it for the rest of my life,” an anonymous Granite Bay High junior boy said.

  While vaping may be currently a popular activity of high schoolers, experts believe it is not merely entertainment, but instead a valid health risk.

  Toxicologist Irfan Rahman at the University of Rochester in New York found worrying signs that vaping is indeed harmful, according to a study from the school’s medical website.

  Rahman saw inflamed mouth cells from vapors, a sign of potential gum disease. He also witnessed smoker’s cough and bloody sores in many teenage vapers, caused by the inhalation of pollution.

  “There are studies that show nicotine (is) harmful to the adolescent brain,” health teacher John MacLeane said, agreeing with Rahman’s claim.

  MacLeane added that e-cigs contain chemical flavors known to be detrimental to the body such as formaldehyde and diacetyl.

Air is the only thing that belongs in your lungs,” MacLeane said. “Anyone who purposefully puts other things in their lungs is asking for trouble.

— John MacLeane

  “Air is the only thing that belongs in your lungs,” MacLeane said. “Anyone who purposefully puts other things in their lungs is asking for trouble.”

  Regardless of problems concerning health, supporters of vaping have argued for its non addictive qualities compared to smoking.

  “I’m not too worried about my health if I’m only going to (vape) for a couple of years,” another anonymous junior girl said. “Vaping won’t affect me that much.”

  Partially agreeing with the student, a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reported in The New York Times found conclusive proof that e-cigarettes are considerably less harmful than smoking.

  The report stated that while vaping reduces a user’s vulnerability to toxins, e-cigarettes can be seen as a “stepping stone” to the smoking world.

  An anonymous senior boy, who is a prominent e-cigarette user, agreed with Rahman and the accuracy of the findings, but doesn’t relate to any of the symptoms.

  “I’ve heard of (the health complications), however I haven’t suffered from any of those problems,” the senior boy said. “I know there’s a risk involved, but it doesn’t affect me.”

  MacLeane, worried of the unknown dangers of vaping by teenagers, is concerned about the future ramifications of e-cigarette use.

  “Vaping is still so new that people who are doing it now are the guinea pigs for future generations,” MacLeane said. “We won’t know all of the dangers for years to come.”