Vaping From a Teen's Point of View

This alternative to smoking is still attached to a negative stigma among teens
Bysvetovdmitrii Shutterstock 557796589
Photo courtesy of Svetov Dimitrii/

I’ve put a lot of thought into this subject and have heard a wide range of opinions from my family, friends, teachers and others. Vaping is a phenomenon that has swept the nation over the past couple of years and has changed quite a lot during that time. It is popular especially in my age group — the later teens to early 20s — but vaping is also popular with plenty of older adults.

There is a good and bad side to almost every issue and this case is no exception. I believe vaping can be useful to people who are trying to quit smoking tobacco products, because it is a healthier alternative that could possibly ease some withdrawal symptoms. Since vaping sometimes utilizes simple water vapor, the practice in this form actually poses fairly few health risks and can be viewed as a much safer alternative to smoking tobacco or other drug related practices.

Vaping can also be used as a stress-reliever for some people who might otherwise use tobacco products. By simply performing the mechanics of smoking — even though the product is not the same — people may still experience a sort of calm they would normally associate with tobacco products. There also is an absence of tar, second-hand smoke and high prices, which are all considerable benefits. The general consensus I have made based on this evidence is that vaping has a pro of being a generally healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, which is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.

There are, however, some obvious cons to the practice of vaping and it actually can pose some major health risks. While the emergence of vaping has definitely led to less Americans smoking cigarettes — an undeniably positive thing — it may lead to a whole host of new health problems. The use of nicotine in certain vaping vehicles, such as e-cigarettes, can increase a user's risk of heart disease and be highly addictive. Harmful particles such as formaldehyde, as well as lung disease contributors known as silicate particles, have been found in e-cigarette vapors in concentrations equal to or higher than in conventional cigarettes. Vaping has also been found to contribute to the formation of chronic bronchitis due to the irritation of the lungs, giving some users a "smoker's cough."

A rather new method of vaping, known as “dripping,” is performed by dropping the e-cigarette liquid directly onto the hot coils to produce a thicker, more flavorful smoke. It's associated with high levels of exposure to nicotine and other chemicals, some of which are known carcinogens. By superheating the liquid, chemicals that at first may not have been harmful turn into toxins.

Not all forms of vaping are as harmful as others, but one thing that all forms of vaping have attached to them is a negative stigma. There are plenty of people who don’t view vaping in a negative light at all, but many do find it to be something that dampens an individual's reputation and can give off the impression that he or she is associating with the wrong people. These drawbacks, as well as some that may not even be known yet, are important to consider in this debate. I encourage everyone to give some thought to it.

Alex Baker is a senior at Apex High School. He plays basketball and lacrosse, and is also a member of the school's Academy of Information Technology.

Categories: Health, Parenting, Teen Scene, Teens