Vape related deaths still don’t scare teens


Typical vape products used by e-cigarette users.

Hannah Kinsell-See, Staff Reporter

Teens all over the country are experiencing random deaths, lung diseases, and countless other respiratory problems, and it has nothing to do with bad hygiene or the pollution in the air. It has everything to do with fruity flavored water vapor, and the feeling of floating that occurs for only 30 seconds at a time. It has everything to do with vaping.

According to a CNN article, E-cigarettes, vaporizers, or more commonly known as vapes, were originally created for people who smoked cigarettes to help them quit. It was considered a “healthier” alternative because vapes don’t include tobacco, but still have nicotine. Unfortunately, vapes began to fall into the wrong hands – teenagers and young adults who were non-smokers.

No one pushed the dangers of e-cigarettes to teens until recently, when the first vape related illness was reported, which occurred in August 2019 in Illinois. No further information about the victim has been released. Soon enough more vape related illnesses and deaths had begun to arise, and officials don’t know why these are just now occurring.

Most victims are young, 16-25 years old and 450 possible lung disease cases relating to vapes have been reported.  According to the Center for Disease Control, patients experience “coughing, chest pain, or shortness of breath to the point where they need to be hospitalized.” Little information is known about vapes such as flavorings, nicotine, and the chemical compounds in vape oils. Lauri Brown, a Normal West parent, asked the question, “If teens see the deaths, and are aware of  the serious consequences of vaping, why do they continue to do it?” 

An anonymous survey of Normal West students about vaping found that 44% of students that took the survey say that they vape, 23%, say that they do it very often. The students were asked if they felt sick after vaping and 76% said they never felt sick afterwards. But even so, there were still 24% of students who said they “sometimes” felt sick after the fact, but the sickening feeling doesn’t last long. 

To answer the question, “Why do teens still vape?” the surveyed students were asked that exact question, and of the responses were the same. A few respondents say they vape because it “helps release stress that comes with school.” Others say it’s “an easy outlet,” for them from the “tough obstacles of reality.”

With this information, it’s inferred that teenagers may still be vaping because of mental and emotional health issues, and they don’t know where else to turn. 22% say they don’t feel like they have a good support system to help them quit if they wanted. A student who wishes to remain anonymous said, “Adults are making us feel bad for our coping mechanisms. How are we supposed to ask for help if we know they’ll punish us, instead of getting the help we need?” 

This strikes up a whole other debate, but all that is known now is vaping could potentially be life threatening, and teens and young adults could lose their lives to a small device that provides puffs of smoke.