J-14 In­ves­ti­gates: The Va­p­ing Trend

J-14 - - Front Page -

All about the scary habit that ex­perts say is out of con­trol.

You may think that smok­ing an eci­garette is no big deal. Af­ter all, thanks to ad­ver­tise­ments with car­toon char­ac­ters sell­ing the so-called “candy fla­vors” and even “health ben­e­fits” of smok­ing them, it’s no won­der that many teens think e-cig­a­rettes are safe. “My friends have vaped be­fore,” one 14-year-old girl from New Jersey (who wished to re­main anony­mous) tells J-14. “They told me it was ac­tu­ally good for them.” The truth is, va­p­ing is any­thing but healthy. “Man­u­fac­tur­ers want you to think they’re safe and trendy,” Erika Sward, the As­sis­tant Vice Pres­i­dent for the Amer­i­can Lung As­so­ci­a­tion, ex­plains to J-14. “How­ever, e-cig­a­rettes aren’t as safe as they’re mar­keted to be. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are us­ing th­ese ads as a way to at­tract kids to their prod­uct and make it ap­pear kid-friendly.”

Big mis­con­cep­tions

But kid-friendly — they are not. In fact, while you may think elec­tronic cig­a­rettes are just pens used to in­hale sweetly fla­vored wa­ter va­pors, ex­perts like Erika say that it’s much more com­pli­cated — and scary — than that. “It’s true that you thein­hale va­por through a per­sonal va­por­izer or elec­tronic cig­a­rette, but the e-liq­uid be­ing heated up in­side the de­vice most of­ten con­tains nico­tine and other dan­ger­ous chem­i­cals, like formalde­hyde, ben­zene and di­acetyl — a chem­i­cal that causes pop­corn lung, which is a ter­ri­ble and ir­re­versible lung dis­ease,” she shares with us.

Also, since nico­tine is one of the main in­gre­di­ents be­ing in­haled, e-cigs are very ad­dic­tive. “Nico­tine’s a drug that’s as ad­dic­tive as heroin and co­caine — it’s ex­traor­di­nar­ily hard to quit,” Erika tells J-14. “And while cig­a­rettes in gen­eral have been shown to de­liver the max­i­mum amount of

nico­tine, that’s not the case for e-cig­a­rettes. De­pend­ing on which one you use, it can have more or less nico­tine than a reg­u­lar cig­a­rette — which means they have a very pow­er­ful ad­dic­tion.” And not only is the sub­stance ad­dic­tive, but the Sur­geon Gen­eral of the United States warns that it can even af­fect a teen’s brain de­vel­op­ment and be­hav­ioral im­pair­ments, in­clud­ing a per­son’s mem­ory and at­ten­tion spans.

Ris­ing in pop­u­lar­ity

With fright­en­ing facts like that, it’s shock­ing that va­p­ing’s pop­u­lar­ity is at an all-time high, es­pe­cially since you’re not legally al­lowed to pur­chase e-cigs un­til you’re 18. But that hasn’t stopped tons of un­der­age users from buy­ing them on­line or get­ting them through older friends. Be­cause of this, the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion say the use of e-cig­a­rettes by mid­dle school and high school stu­dents nearly tripled from 2013 to 2014, cre­at­ing a “vape cul­ture” among to­day’s gen­er­a­tion of teens. And in 2015, stats re­vealed that one in four high school­ers had tried an e-cig­a­rette be­fore they grad­u­ated. “We’re walk­ing down the same types of paths that we walked down with cig­a­rettes in prior years,” Erika re­veals. “E-cig­a­rettes are now the most com­monly used to­bacco prod­uct among kids.”

Just say no

With all th­ese warn­ing signs — and not to men­tion, it be­ing il­le­gal to smoke an e-cig­a­rette if you are un­der 18, it’s im­por­tant that teens ev­ery­where just say no to the dan­ger­ous trend. “E-cig­a­rettes are very ter­ri­fy­ing,” Erika tells J-14. “The chem­i­cals in them alone frighten me. I would ad­vise all teens to stay away from va­p­ing.” In the end, Erika sums up, “The risks of smok­ing an e-cig­a­rette are just not worth it.”

Fá­tima has voiced Dora since 2012. Last year alone,

three mil­lion Amer­i­can teens

used e-cigs!

▶ “I was shocked [when the e-cig­a­rette ex­ploded],” Leor says. His fam­ily is su­ing the Kings Plaza shop­ping cen­ter and the Plaza Vapes kiosk for the in­ci­dent. Stay­ing strong. ◀ “I re­mem­ber I started cry­ing and was bleed­ing!” he re­calls of the scary mo­ment.

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