The Effects of Youth Vaping.

The Effects of Youth Vaping.

Thomas Jensen, Clark Sneary, and JD Carrillo , Staff Writers

Is vaping as bad as it’s presented in the media? Because of vaping, the world has witnessed the fall of cigarette smoking and the rise of a new kind of smoking; this is called “vape.” Vape companies advertise that vaping is safer than any form of smoking. But it seems that the negative effects vaping has on the body, especially for teenagers, leads the discussion. There are often anti-smoking/vaping ads that tell you the consequences of vaping, so the question is, how does vaping affect the youth’s brain and, or, body?

Police Officer Shay Ballard deals with vaping issues at the school. He stated that the long term effects of vaping for both the brain and immune systems are bad. “It is actually worse for the youth’s immune system,” he said. “The main things vaping does to one’s body is damage the lungs with toxic chemicals, as well as raising blood pressure.”

Vape contains a chemical called nicotine which is what makes tobacco use, including vape, very addicting. The human brain has a built-in reward system that triggers when something enjoyable happens. This includes winning a competition or laughing. When these things happen, the brain releases dopamine into the body. And when dopamine is in your system it tells your brain that you like this feeling and need more of it.

When you inhale nicotine, it cheats the brain’s reward system. This is why when someone vapes, they feel accomplished, satisfied, and overall very good. Becoming a very big problem for teenagers, considering that their brains haven’t finished growing yet.

A study by the National Institute on drug abuse reported that teens who start vaping at a young age are more likely to be addicts when they are adults. A large reason is that, when someone tries to quit vaping or stop using tobacco, they can suffer withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can include a short temper, anxiety, depression, and even cravings, making it very hard to quit, especially for teenagers. Nicotine affects the brain’s dopamine release trigger when the brain is growing by making activities that once seemed enjoyable, not so fun. It is evidently clear that vaping is bad for the teenage brain, but what are the effects of vaping on their bodies as well?

When nicotine is inhaled throughout the body, it enters the bloodstream. This is how it reaches the brain. Because nicotine is a toxic chemical, it can cause some major problems in your body. An example being, arteries hardening and thinning which can lead to a heart attack. However is it worse for your brain development or your body? Vaping seems safer than cigarettes as of right now, but the long term effects can potentially be very harmful. Officer Ballard also said sharing vapes is contributing to the spread of COVID-19. He thinks vaping is more harmful to the teenager’s immune system than it is to their brain development. He estimates that around 80% of students nationwide have tried a vape at least once. Vape is more addictive than cigarettes due to convenience.

At present, vaping problems at the school seem minimal according to Officer Ballard, but it is still fairly early in the year and the online school has decreased the number of students in the building at one time. The COVID-19 hall pass restrictions have also made it harder for students to leave class and vape somewhere else at school. Vaping is bad no matter how you look at it. Ballard said that time will tell just how bad it is when long time vape users start coming down with devastating diseases like cancer and lung issues.