Despite its appearance, vaping is highly addictive and dangerous


Courtesy Photo

Vapes come in all different shapes and sizes

Most teenagers start vaping because they think it’s a safe alternative to smoking, which is not true at all. In fact, one JUUL pod, which is a disposable vape cartridge, is equivalent to 20 cigarettes. 

In the Fairfax Youth Survey in 2021, about 1 in 14 of all eighth-graders admitted to having vaped (any substance) in their lifetime, 3.6% have reported having vaped (any substance) one month prior to the survey, and 1.4% of 8th graders have reported to have vaped marijuana a month before the survey was conducted.

Nicotine, which is the most commonly vaped substance among teens, is a highly addictive substance. Vapes may also contain other substances, such as marijuana, which has a very strong smell.

“It makes the bathrooms stink really badly,” said Sabrina, an eighth-grader on the Dolphins team.

Vapes have very harmful substances in them, such as diacetyl, benzene, nickel, tin, and lead. They have materials in them which are the same ones used in building materials, metal in batteries and arsenic, which is a poison used to kill rodents. 

Reports show that teenagers who vape are more likely to develop more severe addictions in their lifetime. According to the Fairfax County Youth Survey, teens who vape are more likely to report higher levels of stress and are less likely to get eight hours of sleep. They are also more likely to report depressive symptoms.

Vaping also affects students around them.

“The school ends up closing down bathrooms which just makes it worse for everyone,”  Arnav, a seventh grader on the Mavericks team, said.

Students caught vaping on school grounds will have to attend a drug prevention class and will face disciplinary consequences. Also, vaping can cause attention, learning and impulse problems and can increase the likelihood of mood disorders. Since a lot of vapes are particularly small and look like everyday objects, such as USB chargers, it’s much easier for their users to hide them from parents and teachers, which makes it difficult to know if they are vaping.

 But, even with all these risks and dangers, there are students who want to try.

“Just seeing people vaping in the bathroom,” an RCMS eighth-grader said, “it makes me tempted to try it.”