Hard Facts of the Vape Debate

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  Nicotine use among teens in the form of vaping has skyrocketed in recent years. I have a
particular interest in this topic because I see teens vaping all around me, every single day.   I’m learning that many of the people I know who vape are seemingly incapable to stop.        This is concerning because I am not convinced that we know the hard facts about vaping and what kind of health consequences will arise as a result. It’s time to educate our young people and teach the hard facts. I want to see a change and I want people to know the truth about vaping. It’s time we stop turning a blind eye and face the hard facts and consequences of vaping.
  According to the CDC, smoking causes 480,000 deaths annually in the United States and
more than 41,000 of these deaths come from secondhand smoke. In other words, nearly 1 in 5 deaths is caused from smoking – that equates to 1,300 deaths every day. The American Cancer Society estimates that smoking shortens males lives by an average of 12 years and females by 11 years. According to a recent survey, 11.3% of high school students are vaping today. To put that into perspective, we currently have about 3,600 students in attendance at Wayzata High School.
  If 11.3% of them are vaping, we have 407 students who vape. This is a number that is continually rising. These 407 students are classmates, teammates and friends and it is time that we do something about it. I went around and interviewed some fellow students at the high school who said they would like to stay anonymous, but here is what they had to say. “Juul has taken over my life, since I was 15 I have been ripping Juul and at first it was fun and something that I would do with my friends but it led to a slippery slope that has brought me to both marijuana and mushrooms because I wasn’t afraid to experiment,” said a 12th grade student.

  The solution is education. We need to teach our young people about the potential harmful effects and long term consequences of vaping. 
  Educators are finally trying to help. With that being said I asked students about potential policy recommendations and what their thoughts were on them. One thought that stood out to me was that banning certain flavors would not matter, but changing the legal age to buy tobacco may help. For example, “I don’t think nicotine specifically products like Juul should be so accessible. If they weren’t, I never would have become addicted because if I didn’t see it around me all of the time I wouldn’t have felt to obligated to try it. With that being said, the flavors do not matter. Out of everyone that I know who is addicted, what the flavor is has become irrelevant. All that matters is that they are getting some sort of nicotine,” said a 11th grade student. I want our generation to be the first generation whose leading cause of death is not smoking. I believe it can be accomplished. “Vaping and the Juul are like cigarettes in previous generations, we all know it’s killing us we just won’t admit it, and soon enough it is going to be too late,” said a 12th grade student. We all need to take a stand and say no to vaping and specifically no to the Juul. If you
Juul, you are not cool – you’re shortening your life one breath at a time.

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