Teenager smoking habits

The increasing popularity of vaping


Photo courtesy of Flickr via Creative Commons

Caitlin Stinson, Author

Cigarettes and tobacco have been a large part of pop culture and teenage lives since the cigarette first became popular. Many movies, like Grease, depict teenagers smoking. The teenage bad boy in books that rides a motorcycle and wears all black smokes cigarettes, and the rebellious teenage girl in movies that classifies herself as a lone wolf smokes cigarettes. Cigarettes have been believed to be a symbol of being cool and edgy, and many teenagers today start smoking to try to create an image of themselves or to fit in with other smokers. In the past few years, teenagers have slowly started to use nicotine vape pens and electronic cigarettes instead of actual cigarettes.

Junior Dakota Prue has seen the number of students at Battlefield that smoke increase in the last lear. Using a specific vaping pen called the JUUL instead of smoking actual cigarettes. Prue says, “A lot of people do not understand how addictive the electronic cigarettes or vape pens can be. People can be seen almost everywhere using them: grocery store parking lot, behind their homes, in the classrooms.” JUULs and other vaping pens still contain nicotine, the addictive drug that can cause multitudes of health problems.

According to the Report of the Surgeon General via the CDC, smoking and using nicotine as a teenager can permanently stunt your lung and brain development. Chemicals found in cigarette smoke affects every organ in the body, and can cause cancer by destroying the part of the immune system that fights against tumors. Not only is nicotine and tobacco extremely dangerous to a person’s health, it is also extremely addictive. The CDC says, “Many teens who try cigarettes don’t know how easy it is to become addicted. Nicotine addiction is so powerful that every day about 1,000 teens become daily smokers.” Nicotine acts similar to heroin and cocaine by changing a smoker’s brain chemistry, making it highly addictive.

Nicotine vaping pens like JUULs have risen in popularity in the past few years. JUULs were originally created to help smokers quit cigarettes. According to their website, one pod in a JUUL is equivalent to the amount of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes. They can come in different flavors that raise the appeal while keeping the appearance that they are harmless. Many users do not realize that, although it tastes like mangos, it can still damage your health and do similar damage to smoking a pack of cigarettes.

Sophomore Shelby Waller is familiar with the e-cigarette and vaping phase, although she does not do it herself. Vape pens are frequently seen on social media sites like Snapchat and Instagram. Waller says, “Many students here at Battlefield use vape pens. Pictures and videos of people vaping or even doing vape tricks are trending and commonly seen on social media sites many Battlefield students use daily” Companies that sell these vape pens have used social media to advertise their products. A video can be seen by thousands of people and can influence them to try a vape pen and other nicotine products.

Teenagers are becoming addicted to nicotine through vape pens and electronic cigarettes. They can cause nicotine poisoning and other diseases like cancer, but they start a rigorous cycle of addiction in teenagers that is difficult to break away from.