According a survey conducted this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27.5% of US high school students now vape. Despite being illegal for individuals in Texas under the age of 21, the products have become increasingly popular with teenagers. The federal government aims to curb that figure significantly by banning all e-cigarette flavoring, with the exception of tobacco-flavored cartridges. Several other countries have already entirely banned the sale of vaping devices.
Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly-used tobacco device for young people in this country. The vaping technology market is largely dominated by Juul Labs, which produces electronic devices for smoking and their accompanying nicotine-filled cartridges, known as “pods.” The federal government plans to limit appeal of vaping devices to teens after hundreds of cases of related lung diseases – including twelve deaths – afflicted individuals of various ages.
Following a wave of backlash, Juul Labs’ CEO, Kevin Burns, resigned on September 25, accompanied by the announcement that Juul will cease to advertise in print, digital, and television forms.
The endeavor aims to keep products out of the hands of young people. Teenagers aged 15-17 are 16 times more likely to use products like Juuls than those in older demographics, and their brains are more susceptible to the addictive properties of nicotine. Moreover, they often fail to truly comprehend the dangers such products pose.
“I know it’s bad for my health, but [my] friends [and I] don’t care and will still keep on doing it,” a Coronado student said.
The risks, however, are not to be taken lightly. Following the hospitalizations of numerous people throughout the country, the Food and Drug Administration recognizes that it has little knowledge of the long-term effects of usage.
With so many young people using these products daily, the uncertain consequences could be long-lasting. This prospect alarmed some students, who now hope to change the attitudes of their peers towards e-cigarettes.
Smoking Obsession/Addiction Prevention (SOAP) is a new club founded with the mission of informing students about the dangers of devices like Juuls. Its founders – juniors Srila Muthyala, Mariana Meza, and Victoria Gonzalez-Cabrera – were drawn to action by the high rates of vaping among teens.
“Students at Coronado should join to support a common cause and ideal in our community to stay clean,” Muthyala said.
The organization will request that their members take a pledge to abstain from smoking and encourage others around campus to do the same.
SOAP will host its first meeting on Thursday, September 26 during lunch in C-32. Subsequent meetings will take place in the same classroom every other Wednesday during lunch.