AWHS freshmen engage in vaping


Ava W

An AWHS student is “hooked” to addictive drugs, like nicotine vapes.

Across the country, vaping has become popular among many teens. AWHS is not an exception to this, as many students have been using this unsafe and highly addictive substance.

A vape, or e-cigarette, is an electronic device providing a drug that users inhale. Vapes often contain nicotine, but they can also contain marijuana, LSD, and Ketamine, all substances that cause different user experiences when inhaled. Vapes that contain tobacco instead of other drugs cause a release of adrenaline, which may raise breathing rate, pulse, and blood pressure, and may cause the body to feel more alert. 

I would say generally speaking, out of the students who get caught for vaping on campus, most of them, at least this year… typically are freshmen and/or sophomores,”

— Nate Severin

 Many vape manufacturers, primarily Juul, have been accused of marketing their products to adolescents by making flavored vape pens such as cotton candy and strawberry shortcake. On June 28, 2021, Juul received a lawsuit from the state of North Carolina for producing commercials targeting children and teens. And, some AWHS students fall into this trap.
“I would say generally speaking, out of the students who get caught for vaping on campus, most of them, at least this year… typically are freshmen and/or sophomores,” Severin said.

While some freshmen admit to having seen their peers vape, they do not all practice this habit. AWHS freshman Roy Quaas believes that vaping is not a good habit to nurture.

“It is their choice, but I don’t think it’s something that should just be accepted as a positive lifestyle,” Roy said. “I think more advertising against its use should be implemented,”

Similar to Roy, AWHS freshman Jack Childs believes that vaping is unsafe. Despite this, he doesn’t feel as though he should intervene in his peers’ personal lives. 

“I personally feel like other people doing it is idiotic, but I can’t do anything about it and it’s not my business what others do,” Jack said.

AWHS teachers, like students, recognize the dangers of vaping. AWHS Psychology and World History teacher Michael Rawlins has seen several vaping incidents in the school and thinks it’s a major campus issue.

“When I taught at Devonshire, every time I went out to use the bathroom there was a cloud of vape smoke coming out of the bathroom,” Rawlins said. “Not only was it the vaping in the bathroom that was a problem, it was that they were dumping the cartridges into the urinals, so the janitors had to come and clean all that up.”

Along with the concern of individual health, many people find electronic cigarettes and vape pens to be detrimental to the environment. In 2019, the National Public Radio reported that vape products, unlike cigarettes, create plastic waste because they are often disposed of improperly. They also  contain toxic chemicals such as mercury, lead, and nicotine. Cigarettes however, create paper waste and include nicotine, tar, and other toxic chemicals that are harmful for the environment.

AWHS freshman Madi Levi feels that  sharing vape pens is very dangerous because of the possible spreading of contagious diseases.

“[People shouldn’t vape], especially during times where there are outbreaks happening for various different diseases worldwide,” Madi said.

Although vaping is known to be dangerous, many AWHS students decide to use this addictive product, regardless of their own health and that of the environment.