All-time high 

Use of vapes, other nicotine products on rise among teenagers, young adults


photo credit: courtesy photo

“The action or practice of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device” has become prevalent among teens and young adults.

It’s bad for you.

It’s dumb.

It’s not cool.

It’s a killer.

It’s addictive.

Adults’ opinions on teen vaping are not unknown, but teens’ viewpoints on vaping are never discussed.

Two teenagers opened up about the fact they vape and they answered a series of personal questions related to vaping. The interviewees are both 12th-grade females and will remain anonymous because of the topic in question. The interviewees will be identified as “Vaper #1” and “Vaper #2”.

According to vaping has become somewhat of an epidemic and has gained popularity with teens and young adults. The use of electronic cigarettes, vapes and Juuls is increasing among middle and high school students.  

“I started vaping sophomore year and I believe I was 16,” Vaper #1 said. “I don’t vape that much anymore. It used to be like every week but now it’s just whenever I feel like it.” 

Curiosity plays a big part in why teens start vaping in the first place. Teenagers want to experience things, especially the things adults tell them not to. 

“I wanted to try it and see why people like it so much,” Vaper #2 said.

I think it’s something I’ll continue to do occasionally, but it’s not something I’ll do every day for the rest of my life,” Vaper #1 said. “No one really understands the effects of vaping yet since it’s a new thing but we’re all gonna die sooner or later might as well have fun #yolo.”

— Vaper#1

Teens also turn to vape as a way to experience relief or fulfillment. People have suggested that nicotine can help with concentration, attentiveness and relaxation. 

“I vape because the buzz helps me relax,” Vaper #1 said. 

Teenagers and young adults are extremely susceptible to peer pressure. Not all teenagers that vape were peer pressured into it but the ones that were probably just wanted to fit in so they conformed and did what was popular and in this case, vaping is the new popular trend. 

“No one pressured me into it. It was my choice,”  Vaper #1 said.

Nicotine is addictive. Teenagers don’t just take one hit and never do it again. Teens continuously vape sometimes on a day to day bases but yet they don’t consider themselves to be addicted. 

“I don’t feel the need to vape and it’s not something I crave but something I just do for fun so I don’t consider myself to be addicted,” Vaper #2 said. “I would be willing to quit if I had to but I don’t want to quit at this point in my life so I’m not.”   

The majority of teen vaping happens at school. Teenagers are at school seven hours out of the day which is seven hours of possible vape time. Schools have consequences for vaping but that’s only if they get caught.  

“I vape at school sometimes but it’s very unlikely I will get caught so I’m not scared,” Vaper #1 said. 

Vaping is something most teens refrain from making public. 

“I don’t hide it from my friends, but I do hide it from my family,” Vaper #2 said. “My family would be ashamed of me and I don’t want them to have negative opinions about me.”

The FDA is warning vape companies about their marketing practices. According to the Center for Tobacco Products, if a vape company markets its product as safer than cigarettes or a “modified version” of cigarettes without an FDA order that permits sale or distribution, it’s considered illegal. 

The legal age to purchase tobacco products was raised from 18 to 21 Sunday, Sept 1. Texas is the 16th state to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products because of the increase in those products used by underage teenagers.

“There are two sides when discussing the legal age to buy tobacco products, technically speaking, 18 is the age of being an adult so at 18 you should be able to do almost anything. On the other hand, the drinking age is 21, which is another point to think about. I think the legal age to buy tobacco products should be 20 because you are still considered a teen at 18 and 19,” Vaper #2 said. 

The legal age to purchase tobacco products was 18 and now it’s 21 but somehow teenagers are still able to possess tobacco products. 

“I am supplied by older friends and knowing people at vape stores,” Vaper #1 said. 

Teenagers understand the effects of vaping. They had seen the videos and listened to the lectures. They are constantly reminded that nicotine can lead to cancer and possibly death but they do it anyway. 

“Of course I understand the effects of vaping but I don’t care if I’m being honest,”  Vaper #2 said. “I am going to die eventually so why not just do what I want.”

Tobacco and nicotine products are going to be continued to be used by teens no matter how many times someone tells them not to or what the legal age is to purchase and use. 

“I think it’s something I’ll continue to do occasionally, but it’s not something I’ll do every day for the rest of my life,” Vaper #1 said. “No one really understands the effects of vaping yet since it’s a new thing but we’re all gonna die sooner or later might as well have fun #yolo,” Vaper #1 said.

The news lately has been flooded with stories about teenagers being hospitalized because of vaping. The number of fatalities and vaping-related illness keeps increasing and will most likely continue to go up along with the increase in vape popularity among teens.