Polluted by vaping

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Among today’s novelty-seeking youth, there is another rising fad – vaping. According to a 2017 National Institutes of Drug Abuse, more than one in four high school seniors reported vaping in the previous year. Searching online, you can also effortlessly find many cool-looking guys teaching how to blow out bizarre shapes of smoke rings to stunt your peers.

Same as poppies, vaping looks charming and gorgeous, but addictive and toxic in essence. It is not an innocent healthier substitution to real cigarettes as it acclaims. Indeed, the nicotine it contains is no less lethal. What’s more, the most popular e-cigarette brand, has a significantly higher amount of nicotine per puff than some other types of its traditional counterparts.

Why is vaping still so rampant among campuses when many students who vape are well aware of the damages it causes to their bodies and the long shadows casted onto their lives? As witnessed by Samantha Bravo, a junior student, “I saw students vaping in the class when the lights were off, or in the bathroom when no teachers or guards were inside.” Luisa Mayaudon also said with regrets, “They vape so routinely like they consider it as just flavored water vapor. But they understand it is not the truth.” In fact, I believe the reason for vaping is because of peer pressure on campus. Whenever you are with a group of kids doing it, and you're not doing it, you feel you are so weird, risking being isolated. “The students who have a lack of confidence,” Miss Sanin said. “Right now, they are learning how to cope with social pressure, how to respond to family dynamics and stress.” They need help along their struggling path towards maturity in the complex world.

So, what should we do when we have students caught in such a challenging dilemma? First of all, the school has to help them to build their confidence so they can understand vaping is harmful and that it is not "uncool" if you don’t vape. Secondly, preventative counteractions should be put in place as Samantha warned, “We have to address this before it’s beyond control.” Some schools have already set interventions for coping with vaping, by equipping school staff to talk students through their decision-making process, identifying what led them to vaping and to bring them back on track. Besides introducing such practices to our campus, some teachers in our school also advocate to install vaping detectors in bathrooms as a deterrent force. The good news is that in some states the FDA is now working with politicians and seeking regulations over vaping business, such as raising the buying age to 21 and cracking down on online sales.

For all those uncomfortable facts regarding campus vaping, it is worse to just sit and wait for our own suffering with proper somber faces.

you should go home while you still have some light

Written in May 2019

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