By Samantha Flores, Sports & Health Editor
High school is the time in a teenager’s life where they are getting ready for college, but is also a time where they are trying to fit in. This generation’s idea of “fitting in” is taking on the activity of vaping. Vaping, now a term featured in the dictionary, is the action of inhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette, and the vapor can contain nicotine or THC (marijuana). What was supposed to be a healthier alternative to those addicted to smoking cigarettes, turned into the main teenage trend. Since the invention is so new, scientists do not even know the effects it can have on its users. Recently, however, over 215 severe lung disease cases have arisen across hospitals in 22 U.S. states with patients complaining of chest pains, which were determined to be caused by vaping. Shockingly, some of the cases have resulted in patients in the ICU using ventilators, and already six cases resulting in death.
The rise in vaping has been ongoing since 2011, and the numbers have steadily increased. Teens began to heavily use the product around 2016, so much so it began to disrupt the learning environment. The Juul came to the market in 2017. This discreet black stick looks harmless, but it has put hundreds in the hospital. Kevin Burns, the CEO of Juul, said to CBS last week, “Don’t vape. Don’t use Juul.” The young adults and teens who have spoken out about their addiction after they landed in the hospital described their Juul usage as about going through a pod a day, equivalent to an entire pack of cigarettes. One teen named Simah Herman who was hospitalized because of vaping posted on Instagram saying, “No one thinks this will happen to them and neither did I which is why I kept vaping. It took less than 48 hours for me to be out in a drug induced coma with a tube down my throat because I could no longer breathe on my own. The dangers of vaping are real, and this can happen to you.” Teens that have been affected have been speaking out just like Simah, to the point where some are suing the Juul company, but it wasn’t until the recent death last week that people really started to worry.
Thursday of last week, a young adult from Illinois contracted a mysterious lung disease after vaping and died. Doctors ruled out his disease as infectious, as it is not caused by an infection like pneumonia, and discovered the disease was from inhalation of a caustic substance, which is believed to be vape chemicals. Doctors are shocked by this case and other severe ones and Dr. Ngozi Ezike said, “The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be very dangerous.” It is almost becoming an epidemic, and more cases will likely arise in the new few months with the continuation of vaping.
These reported cases need to be enough to encourage teens to quit vaping. This can happen to anyone who is using, and no one is immune to it. Doctors, news companies, and even teens themselves are urging those participating to stop and save themselves. Those addicted need to seek help so they don’t get sick, even though the damage might already be done. Stop vaping and raise awareness!