Nico-teens: The next generation of addicts


Mekiah Glynn, Staff Writer

Vaping has been an issue since it was first invented in the mid-2000s, but just recently, the issue with vaping isn’t the annoying clouds of smoke in classrooms or the restrooms; it now involves the health of people who vape. The first vaping related death was reported in Illinois back in August, and there have been 24 more deaths and even more injuries since then, according to the New York Times. Has anything changed since the first death? There are still teens vaping in the bathrooms at Gunderson, and plenty more vaping off-campus. Gunderson stuck up a couple of anti-vaping posters, and pretty soon everyone forgot that kids are even dying over this. As a teen myself, there is one major question that I keep asking: “why even vape in the first place?” Teens are being lured into vaping through peer pressure and creative marketing, then they are becoming addicted. 


What are the effects of vaping?

Vape pens, or e-cigarettes, can either have nicotine or be nicotine-free. Both kinds have negative impacts on anyone who consistently uses them, especially people with undeveloped brains.  A study done by showed that vape with nicotine caused slower brain development and vape with or without nicotine caused lung cancer, addiction, and irritation in the lungs. As part of a generation that grew up watching and listening to the dangers of smoking cigarettes, I am shocked and concerned that even then this knowledge didn’t scare most teens away from the idea of smoking anything. Adults, teens, and maybe even children seem to have grasped the idea that nicotine isn’t good for you. For years now people have preached the dangers of smoking and chewing tobacco, so teens literally grew up hearing of the effects. However, since vaping is relatively new and can even come without nicotine, most people were slow to voice their concerns. Our generation was supposed to be the generation that ended smoking, and vaping took that away from us. In recent months the negative effects of vaping are becoming being studied and have become better known. Studies, such as one done by the New York Times, are coming out with reports that it causes chemical burns in your lungs. Teens are actually dying because of this, and progress is hardly being made. So what does it take for the generation that was raised to be cautious of smoking to start vaping?


So why do teens vape?

Everyone is quick to turn around and blame the teens and young adults for vaping, but there are pressures and reasons that people start vaping and reasons quitting is difficult. Companies know how to sell products, that’s why you can end up leaving Target with a dozen things you weren’t planning on buying people and especially teens are quite predictable. explained that companies who sell vape pens make them easy to charge, have fun flavors, and make them look like flash drives. With these companies’ “mind control” on top of peer pressure at school, I’m not surprised that a lot of teens decide to try out vaping. I mean, these are the teens that once bought Silly Bandz just because they were colorful and everyone else was doing it. And once people try out vaping, they can’t quit easily because nicotine is very addictive. The book Psychology: The Science of Behavior (sixth edition), stated that quitting nicotine can cause the one to have stomach cramps, and to feel hungry, tired, depressed, and irritable. With all the symptoms that are caused by quitting nicotine, it’s no surprise that teens are either hesitant to quit or keep relapsing when they try to quit. Without resources and help, I can only imagine that quitting this addiction seems impossible. Gunderson could face countless deaths and injuries related to vaping if people don’t stand up or resources aren’t provided. My generation is already facing numerous other countrywide problems that are endangering our lives. It’s time we stop turning our backs on teens who need help with an addiction. It’s time we stop ignoring a major part of our student body. Its time we stop blaming the teens. Its time someone does something.