A spreading epidemic

Written by Natalie Drouhard, website editor-in-chief

Vaping: You can not go anywhere without hearing about it. Whether at school, at a party, or in a music ad: It’s everywhere. The question is, how did we get to this point? Simply stated, the answer is no regulations, black markets, and popularity votes.

The FDA is on a mission to stamp out vaping, especially underaged. You can’t listen to music on YouTube, Pandora, or Spotify without at least on ad from the FDA warning about vaping. I’m more concerned with what they don’t tell us because they can’t. They can’t tell us the long-term effects vaping will have on our bodies. Vaping has been around since 2003, but was not used to the extent it is today, nor were E-cigs used by teenagers or people who weren’t trying to stop smoking cigarettes. The problem with vaping and E-cigs is that they might not have tobacco, but they still have nicotine.

While we don’t know the long-term effects of inhaling the vapor, we do know long-term effects of nicotine. Nicotine can have lasting effects on your brain, making it harder to concentrate, learn, and control impulses according to Smokefree.gov. In comparison, ingesting large amounts of nicotine at a young age can halt brain development. Teenage brains can even become more wired for addiction to other drugs and be harder to stop. Nicotine addictions are only one negative factor to vaping as teenagers.

The other main factor is the risk of popcorn lung. Popcorn lung is a nickname for a condition that damages the small airway in your lungs, causing coughing and shortness of breath, according to WebMd. The first records of popcorn lung was from workers who worked with amd inhaled the chemical used to flavor microwave popcorn, which is also where the nickname came from. The juices in vapes can cause the same condition, according to Medical News Today and the American Lung Association.

The negative effects of nicotine, nicotine addiction, and the risk of popcorn lung are all reasons to not vape. Why would you risk your health and future health just to look cool at parties and “fit in”? When you vape as a teenager, you are risking permanent damage to your body that can affect you for the rest of your life. Educate yourself before you choose to make a decision that can determine the rest of your life. Think back right now; think about your parents, friends, and partners. They want you here. You want them here. If you vape or use E-cigs, the risks could prevent either of you from being here together. Stop vaping.