Vaping at Lowell High School

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By Mannette Gono

Vaporizers, or electronic cigarettes when  inhaled stimulate the feeling of smoking. The e-cigarettes are made with propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine and food-grade flavorings. The federal legal age for purchasing and using vape products is eighteen (21 in Mass. and some states), however many minors use it regardless. While vaping is safer than smoking(4), there are many consequences to e-cigarettes. Smoking e-cigarettes damages a lot of the body’s organs, especially in adolescents because the body is not fully developed.

The chemicals in e-cigarettes can damage the lung tissue and weaken its ability to keep out harmful germs and bacteria (2). Most vape products contain nicotine, which is an addictive substance dangerous to adolescent brain development. Vaping often causes dry mouth, dehydration, coughing, sore throat, and withdrawal from nicotine- which can  make quitting difficult. Using e-cigarettes with nicotine allows the nicotine to enter your bloodstream, and stop new brain cells from forming. Despite all these effects, more high schoolers vape than smoke, and e-cigarettes are used by two times more boys than girls. Overall, vaping is starting to become the more preferred choice than smoking. 

Vaping is favored over cigarettes due to better odor, no teeth staining from the tobacco, and better social acceptance. Vaping, as well asalso offers a calming effect on the brain(6), which leads people into believing it is okay to use. Despite the benefits of using e-cigarettes the negative health risks outweigh the positive.

The use of e-cigarettes by students have become a more common occurrence at Lowell High School. There are numerous amount of students that not only use e-cigarettes, but also buy the products online, make and sell them. Different students have different reasons for their usage and how they started.

After interviewing five freshmen at Lowell High School, there are clear misconceptions that students have about vaping and some things they choose to ignore. Some students are not aware of all the health risks and some simply do not mind, or believe that it is worth it. Many believe that vaping is okay because it is safer than smoking, but e-cigarettes still have significant health effects. Some students do not think they are addicted to it and often vape to be social. People start vaping as a means to fitting in, depending on the environment.

In the interviews, three students revealed they started vaping simply to learn the tricks, and later became hooked. The other students interviewed started vaping in order to release stress from school , or situations happening in their personal lives. Most of the students interviewed started vaping by age 11 and have continued on until now.

To conclude with a personal statement, in regards to the welfare of students, vaping should stop in high schools. The growing prevalence calls for action.


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