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Bathroom Vapers: A Big Problem

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Bathroom Vapers: A Big Problem

Michael Pruchanskiy

Michael Pruchanskiy

Michael Pruchanskiy

Leila Garrett, Staff Writer

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   Students wait in line for the bathroom. Then several people walk out of one stall. Obviously, those who walked out of the stall were vaping — evident by the coughs echoing around the bathroom and the haze they leave behind. We can blame the vapers for causing students to be late to class, but who is truly responsible for the increasing amount of teens partaking in such activities?

   According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the spike of nicotine-addicted teens in America traces back to the promoting strategies e-cigarette companies are using to appeal to youth. The HHS explained that “…companies are promoting their products through television and radio advertisements that use celebrities, sexual content, and claims of independence to glamorize these addictive products and make them appealing to young people” (e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov).

   JUUL, for instance, is an e-cigarette company that is notorious for designing their products to resemble a flashdrive. A JUUL differs from other e-cigarette devices because their small size can fit in the palm of a hand, making them easier to hide. American Cancer Society Vice President for Tobacco Control Cliff Douglas explained the easy to use, sleek technology paired with fruity, minty, or sweet pod flavors are an alluring mixture that makes it easy to be considered cool (cancer.org).

   E-cigarette advertisements and users, as well as the amount of sources in which advertisements can be found, have increased. According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, American kids are exposed to advertising from retail stores, the Internet, magazines, movies, and television. Thus, kids are exposed to these products as being attractive and exciting. This encourages their addictions, which in turn encourages their vaping in the bathrooms (cdc.gov).

   Not only does self-administering nicotine put teens in risk of addiction, but the health effects of being exposed to the several chemicals and aerosolized constituents from e-cigarettes are not completely understood. HHS stated that the rapid emergence of new e-cigarette devices makes it challenging to get accurate research regarding potential health risks (e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov).

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention studied the health effects of secondhand e-cigarette aerosol exposure, and found that the exhaled smoke “…potentially exposes nonusers to aerosolized nicotine and other harmful and potentially harmful substances, including heavy metals, ultrafine particulates, and volatile organic compounds” (cdc.gov).

   Whether it’s from secondhand smoke or if it’s self-administered, kids exposed to nicotine, an extremely addictive drug, are at risk of impaired brain and lung development. According to Douglas, adolescents can even become physically dependant on nicotine to the point of not just smoking recreationally, but compulsively (cancer.org).

   Despite health concerns and common sense, hoards of teens still infest school bathrooms with their vape clouds. Teenagers should be old enough to know partaking in nicotine activities is destructive, but they’re at an impressionable age that makes them an easy target for advertisements. The tobacco industry knows youth can be easily persuaded and uses it against them by continuing to make their products as appealing as possible.

   The vaping craze only gets worse as e-cigarettes gain more attention. Kids can go on social media and see their idols using JUULs or memes about vaping and these just make them more likely to start using e-cigarettes. Any kind of attention is dangerous because teens like to rebel and can use e-cigarettes as a rebellious statement or simply because it’s trendy.

   Teenagers should not be using school bathrooms to ease their concerning nicotine withdrawals in the middle of instructional hours. Blame the kids for smoking in school bathrooms, but blame the tobacco industry for the absurd amount of kids who are dependant on nicotine.

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Bathroom Vapers: A Big Problem