Vaping has rapidly become more popular than smoking among teens

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It’s a quick turn of the teacher’s back that allows students to reach into their backpacks for a small, portable vaping device. Or maybe it’s a quick run to the bathroom that gives students an outlet to vape with privacy. The creation of e-cigarettes has quickly taken over high schools across the country, according to

Vapes give people a buzz that is similar to a cigarette, but is flavored, easily accessible and can be conveniently hidden. At Northwest, 40 percent of students vape. Thirteen percent of these students vape both in the bathroom and the parking lot, while 10 percent vape in the mall. According to the survey, about 58 percent of students who vape claim that they do not vape at school.

“I think that a lot of the reason people vape is because a drinking buzz is so much longer and you can’t control yourself while you are drunk or high,” a junior girl with straight brown hair said. “People choose to vape because the buzz goes away and you can easily gain it back.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) survey, 14 percent of sophomores use vapes, while 6.3 percent smoke cigarettes. More than 16 percent of seniors reported that they vape, while more than 11 percent smoke cigarettes. In addition, the NIDA reported that teen e-cig users were more likely to start smoking.

According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 16 percent of high school students vaped prior to 2016. That dropped to 11 percent in 2016. The survey, however, failed to include Juul brand vape devices.

A report from the U.S. surgeon general contradicted the CDC’s findings, claiming a 900 percent increase in use from 2011 to 2015. Juul was not introduced until 2015. As of September 2018, Juul had cornered almost 73 percent of the market, according to Wells Fargo.

Students who do vape have accepted the health risks, while others who have chosen to avoid vaping have decided that the risks weren’t worth it.

“I don’t like vaping because it’s just not a good habit to start and the overall health risks it can have over time can really affect you,” sophomore Maggie Dolinar said. “I just don’t think it’s worth it just to seem ‘cool.’ If I were offered a chance to vape, I would turn it down.”

Despite the common use and association of safety with the devices, research on long-term effects is limited. Nicotine is highly addictive, and the pods in vaping devices have a higher concentration of nicotine than individual cigarettes.

Popular vaping devices used by teens include Juul, Phix, Suorin and Smok brands. Starter packs, which include the vape, a charger and often samples of nicotine e-juice, can be purchased for between $9 and $50, depending on the brand. Additional juice with and without nicotine can be purchased online. These handheld devices come with a base unit in which a disposable pod of e-juice can be inserted. Some pods can be refilled with bottles of separately purchased juice, while others come pre-filled. The price of e-juice depends on the brand, how much nicotine is in it and how big the unit is. Juice with zero nicotine is less expensive; e-juice pods that come pre-filled are more pricey. A pack of four Juul pods costs $12.99 at Quiktrip, but can fluctuate depending on the retailer and the brand.

Vape companies are under attack for advertisements that target minors. Vape juice flavors such as fruit and candy attract a younger audience that traditional tobacco wouldn’t. The use of nicotine is illegal for those under 18 in Kansas. In a smoke-free establishment, vaping is not prohibited unless specified.

Students who are in possession of a vape or who are caught vaping on school grounds will face a three-day, out-of-school suspension for three days on the first offense. Any additional offense will result in five days of out of school suspension. According to associate principal Jack Johnson, on an average, one student each day is caught vaping in school.

Because of vaping, peer pressure is now not only red Solo cups, but also the sleek vapes. A majority of students claim that peer pressure is what prompted them to vape in the first place.

“I was 13 when I first vaped and I started vaping because I saw my friends doing it,” a sophomore girl with brown eyes said. “It looked interesting and I haven’t stopped since.”