Teen Illnesses May Be Related To Vaping


Deputy Dave calls vaping devices a “Handful of poison.”

Rebecca Harris, Staff Writer

Recent investigations into teen and young adult vaping suggest that vaping may cause illness and deaths. Vaping started picking up popularity in recent years among teens, and this addiction still continues throughout the United States. Every year, the product and technology evolves, making the devices more appealing. They are appealing to teens because they are smaller and produce less smoke, so kids can hide it. 

Vaping is the action of inhaling and exhaling vapor (aerosol). Although there are numerous vaping devices available, Juul and e-cigarettes have been the most prevalent among teenagers. Every vaping device has a battery. The user adds a liquid to the device, and the battery heats the liquid, turning it to vapor. Researchers have found that vaping devices, such as “dab” pens, may contain antifreeze and other chemicals. 

 When asked about the effects of vaping, Dakota Ridge school nurse Amy Doolittle said the effects vary due to brain development. Some of the negative effects of vaping include increased heart rate, heightened blood pressure, and a sick stomach. “Chemical changes are a normal part of the human body, but when vaping happens, natural body chemicals are replaced by nicotine and other drugs,” Doolittle said. “The chemicals the body was making at first would not be produced because the drug (nicotine) is taking charge.”  

One of the concerns about vaping is that students become addicted. “There are ways to help kids stop vaping. It is important for kids to focus on quitting because vaping impedes development academically and interferes with their brain,” Doolittle said.

Deputy Bruening is the DRHS school resource officer. His main role is keeping kids out of trouble and helping students. According to Bruening, in past years the number of teenagers who regularly vaped was 20% to 30%, and this year it’s down to 3%. “I was able to see a decrease in student vaping this year because students are seeing the deaths from vaping in the news,” Bruening said.

The FDA (The Food and Drug Administration) is trying to establish a protocol to get rid of e-cigarette flavors but keep tobacco. The fruit flavors make it more desirable for teenagers. Some companies have made a great deal of money through selling vape products, but if flavored vape gets banned, the businesses who were selling vaping devices/flavors will be affected. 

Similar to the Prohibition Act of 1920, the FDA is thinking of banning the products. If that happens, it’s possible that the ban could make the situation worse by pushing kids toward using more tobacco products. 

According to USA Today, the CDC (Center for Health Disease) has seen an increase in vaping-related illnesses.  There were 805 vaping-related lung illnesses and a total of 12 deaths suspected over the last few weeks. Studies are being conducted to determine what chemicals may be causing the deaths around the country. Recently, Massachusettes and the city of San Francisco banned the flavors and the use of vaping devices. USA Today reported that in Cincinnati there was a secretive lab where scientists were investigating different products and liquids with vaping. The investigation still continues with 400 samples from 18 states. However, there is still no verifiable information on what is causing people to get sick or even die.