Vaping brings negative effects to teens, young adults

The widespread use of e-cigarettes has caused many health issues and effects to many people in the United States, including teenagers and young adults.

E-cigarettes and vapes were originally created as an alternative to smoking to help those addicted to nicotine recover. However, a large number of teenagers have taken up vaping which has led to an increase in health effects.

“I think most teens continue to vape because they think it’s cool and it’s just another way to hang out with their friends,” senior Jordan Goble said. “They don’t really think about the consequences because it’s in the future and it doesn’t really matter right now.”

The majority of e-cigarettes that are produced contain nicotine, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 99% of e-cigarettes that they tested contained nicotine.

According to the CDC, “some e-cigarette labels do not disclose that they contain nicotine, and some e-cigarettes marketed as containing 0% nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.”

The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that in 2018, about 25.7% of high school seniors believe they are vaping “just flavoring” which contradicts with the CDC’s findings. Students’ potential lack of knowledge about what is contained in e-cigarettes can lead to unknowingly causing more health effects.

Nicotine in itself can cause health issues specifically to youths and young adults. The CDC reports that studies from National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine shows nicotine can cause significant harm to a growing brain. The human brain continues to develop until around age 25, so using nicotine products in adolescence can affect parts of the brain that control factors like attention, mood, and impulse control. Additionally, it is reported that using nicotine products could potentially lead to future drug addiction.

“Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections – or synapses – are built between brain cells,” according to the CDC. “Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed.”

The CDC has coined the term EVALI, which stands for e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury, to describe the various lung effects that have been caused. In August of 2019, there was a sharp increase in the amount of EVALI cases in the United States that peaked in September of 2019, but that number has been consistently declining since then.

Even with the decline in cases, the CDC reported that as of February 4, 2020, there has been 2,758 hospitalized EVALI cases in the U.S. with 64 resulting in death across 28 states and the District of Columbia.

“In the United States, e-cigarette use among youth has exploded into what the Surgeon General and the Food & Drug Administration have called ‘epidemic’ levels – with Juul and its imitators being the primary cause,” the organization Tobacco Free Kids reports. “With all of the major multinational tobacco companies launching their own e-cigarettes or buying established brands, and e-cigarette brands setting up shop in new countries, there is concern that the youth e-cigarette epidemic in the United States will soon spread to other countries.”

A report from the National Institute of Drug Abuse states that in 2019, approximately one in every four high school seniors has vaped a substance that includes nicotine in the past month. Even with this being a relatively large amount of high school seniors, there are still some that are against vaping due to the potential consequences on their health.

“I don’t see the point in vaping. It’s just flavored chemicals going into your body that harms you the more you vape,” Goble said.