By ADRIANA GUTH-BOROWSKI – Large puffs of white smoke fill the air. The newest high school trend, vaping, unlike most fads, can impact the rest of people’s lives.
With multiple brands and styles of vape pens, these multi-flavored devices have taken over high schools across the nation. Closer to home is IHS, where it seems at least a few people monthly are getting caught.
Anyone caught with a vaporizer is subjected to 20 hours of community service, and required to write a one-page essay on vaping for a first-time offense. Also, if the offender has extracurriculars, there is a required participation student assistance program.
Additional offenses ( which are level three offenses) result in a three-day suspension, and as with all level three offenses, become a part of the student’s permanent record.
Sophomore Courtnay Lydic stated, “I think people like it because they want to fit in with their friends that do it. I don’t think they really care about the punishment.”
A series of school-wide assemblies occurred last month where students were informed about the dangers of vaping. Included in the presentation was a graphic showing popcorn lung, which occurs by inhaling the diacetyl in certain flavors such as vanilla, maple, and coconut.
Junior Grant Minnick said, “Most people are aware of the dangers, so if they do it anyway, it’s their own fault.”
Some more dangerous substances in the vape cartridges include propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin. While these are both in food, it is generally not healthy to continually inhale them.
Not only can harmful carcinogens be in the device, but also THC (marijuana) oil can be added. Sophomore Paige Mitsko stated, “It’s wild that someone could be smoking marijuana next to you, and you could just think it’s vape.”
Living in a college town, it seems the students of IHS have more access than most, with four vape shops just on Philadelphia street. Underclassmen also have easy access due to the close proximity to legal vape-buying upperclassman. Senior Alex Detwiler said, “Kids have just as much access to vape as the people who can legally buy it.”
Even with the attempts of the school to inform the students, it seems many die-hard vapers are going to continue, even with the health and punishment risks involved.
As with any public health issue, education and information are the keys to making responsible decisions. It’s always a good idea to at least know what the health risks are before making the decision to engage. Also, students might also want to consider the effects that getting caught will have on their disciplinary record.
[Graphic by Adriana Guth-Borowski]
Graphic Caption: “A poll showed nearly 18% of IHS is unaware of the dangers of vaping.”