Addictions series: vaping

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Addictions series: vaping

The dark shaded states are the reported cases of the new illness caused by ENDS.

The dark shaded states are the reported cases of the new illness caused by ENDS.

The dark shaded states are the reported cases of the new illness caused by ENDS.

The dark shaded states are the reported cases of the new illness caused by ENDS.

Alyssa Smith, Staff Writer

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The hottest new trend among young adults and teens alike are electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). More commonly, they are known as vaping, and sometimes called electronic cigarettes, JUULS, and nords, but they all function in a similar way.

These devices are becoming one of the most popular ways that adults smoke nicotine. However, it is largely trending among middle school and high school students.

ENDS heat a liquid that contains flavored nicotine for it to be smoked. But it also produces aerosol and other harmful chemicals. It is not just water vapor. Once the smoke is exhaled, the chemicals and aerosol can be inhaled by others nearby.

The vapor that is inhaled is dangerous, especially for teens and young adults. The brain keeps developing until the age of 25, and nicotine has been proven in studies to affect the brain and how it develops. Besides nicotine, the aerosol is also unhealthy for the brain.

However, the brain is not the only part of the body that is impacted by this new trend.

According to the Center of Disease Control, as of Sept. 6, 2019, over 450 cases of pulmonary disease and/or lung illnesses have been reported that are related to e-cigarettes, and six people have died from this mysterious illness. This specific lung illness is not infectious, but it is caused by chemicals. The implication is that it is not just water vapor that is being inhaled. Treatment options can be challenging, and some might come too late

Because of the huge diversity of flavors and styles of e-cigarettes, it makes it more appealing for younger teens and adults. The ENDS come in an endless array of fun shapes that e-cigarette manufacturers seem to use to target youth. Many of these teens do it because it looks cool, and they can customize the flavors and amounts of nicotine.

But these alluring devices can also be concealed to look like a USB drive, an Apple Watch or even a Sharpie. These non-descript shapes allow students to vape in class and avoid detection by teachers and staff.

Last year Principal Kevin Driskill of Lewiston High School roughly estimated that 85 percent of teens at LHS alone were vaping. This year, when asked, Driskill said that the number of students who vape grows ‘exponentially each year’, and that it has even spread to some elementary schools in the area.

This epidemic has caught President Trump’s attention. In recognizing the growing problem regarding young teens with e-cigarettes, the Trump administration is “strongly recommending” that the Food and Drug Administration make changes in how these products are sold and produced. Trump is pushing to have flavored e-cigarette juices banned in an attempt to lower the appeal for young teen users.

Despite ENDS being so dangerous and harmful to the body, it was created to aid people with tobacco cigarette addictions.

Vape pens were introduced to help adult smokers quit smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes.
The goal was to slowly lower the nicotine level in the vape pen to help with the withdraw process. The FDA expedited the process of approving the new technology because of the promising new prospect of reducing addiction to tobacco cigarettes.

Ned Sharples, the acting commissioner of the FDA said, “When the FDA’s foundational ‘deeming rule’ went into effect on Aug. 8, 2016, it gave the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products regulatory authority over all ENDS, including e-cigarettes, vapes, e-liquids, e-cigars, e-pipes and e-hookahs.”

The ‘deeming rule’ mentioned allowed tobacco companies to produce ENDS without any limitations on chemicals, technology, ingredients or specific standards in general. This allowed free reign on the production of these products.

Whatever purpose e-cigarettes were created for, whatever good intentions, they are the cause of an addiction epidemic with teenagers.


A note from the editorial staff:

Over the course of the next several issues, different writers for The Pathfinder will address common trends, activities and habits deemed addictive. Some topics include drugs, sugar, video games, food and even exercise. Read with an open mind and compassionate heart as these addictions may affect you or someone that you know physiologically or psychologically. As Kofi Annan once said, “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress.”