Vaping and the health risks with young teenagers

Alexis Forson assisted in the writing of this story.
The number of young teenagers vaping has risen an extreme amount. Vaping has taken over their health, school work, and their overall daily life. Vaping appears to be an issue at many schools, including Riverside Secondary.

A vape device is an electronic-cigarette that is filled with e-juice made from propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. It is advertised as a less harmful alternative to smoking, but it is not safe. Health officials have concluded that the e-juice particles in aerosol (vapor) have high amounts of toxic chemicals such as diacetyl (chemical linked to lung disease), cancer causing chemicals and heavy metals (lead, tin and nickel). Teenagers ignore the health risks and side effects such as dehydration, coughing, nicotine poisoning, bronchiolitis, addiction, dizziness, nosebleeds and bleeding gums.

A grade 9 Riverside student (who wishes to remain anonymous), mentions how she knows the health risks, but continues to vape. “I know the risks of vaping, but I continue to vape because it hasn’t affected me.” She continues to talk about how and why she started vaping in the first place. “I started vaping because I thought it was cool and I wanted to try it since all of my friends were doing it. I wasn’t peer pressured by anyone to start; it was ultimately my decision,” said the anonymous student.

Many provinces have laws in place to discourage vaping by young people. In May 2018, the Provincial government of Ontario passed a law that vapes could be openly advertised, but with regulations. The advertisements cannot be directed towards youth; it cannot include people using it in their daily life; there can be no sponsorships and there cannot be any giveaways; they need to be purchased. The advertisements for the e-juice also cannot be advertised if the flavors are appealing to youth.

In British Columbia, the legal age to purchase a vape device is over the age of 19. The government issued a law banning vaping in indoor public and work places. The B.C. government passed an Act called ‘The Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Regulation Act’ restricting the sales and advertising of vaping and tobacco products to minors under the age of 19.

In most provinces, the legal age to purchase a vape device is 18, but in others the legal age is 19. However, that doesn’t stop minors from buying vapes. In the US, vaping has increased 50% in middle schools, and 80% in high schools since 2016. Fortunately, the number of teens vaping in Canada hasn’t increased as much as it has in the US.

It is highly recommended to not start vaping, especially if you never smoked cigarettes. The suggested use is for adults who are addicted to cigarettes to use the vape devices to quit smoking. A grade 10 Riverside student (who wishes to remain anonymous), commented on his use of vapes. “I started vaping to get off smoking cigarettes. Nobody forced me to vape, I just started on my own because vaping is the safer alternative, but I did start smoking cigarettes because of my peers,” said the anonymous student.

Listen to the Podcast for one student’s perspective on vaping.