By Brody Droste and Albert Ferrel, edited by Kate Jeong
On September 6, the state of California mourned its second death related to vaping e-cigarettes. This is the seventh death in a nationwide epidemic that has affected hundreds of people and killed twelve.
When using a vaping device, chemicals like nicotine and sweeteners are turned to vapor and inhaled by the user. These vapors include many other harmful substances as well. These include diacetyl, carcinogenic chemicals, and heavy metals such as tin, nickel, or lead. These are similar to actual cigarettes. It’s also much more dangerous to the passer-bys because of the secondhand smoke. Although these substances themselves don’t cause the lung damage associated with vaping, the oil used to vaporize the liquids are inhaled by the user. The oil becomes trapped in the lungs, causing lung damage. Victims of this illness first experienced coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain before their condition worsened and had to be taken to the hospital. Some victims ended up with a lung condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome, a life-threatening disease in which fluids build up in the lungs and prevents oxygen from circulating in the bloodstream.
Due to this mysterious illness, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued multiple statements encouraging people to stop vaping. Schools have been trying to stop vaping by installing special smoke detectors and even taking down bathroom stall doors. However, most are doubtful that this will have an effect. They believe teens will find other ways to hide their vaping habits.
The government has been cracking down on e-cigarette companies as well. The FDA recently sent a letter to JUUL Labs, saying they illegally marketed their vapes as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. Additionally, New York has passed an emergency ban immediately making the sale of flavored e-cigarettes illegal, and many other states are considering doing the same. President Trump announced he plans on passing a law to prevent the sale of flavored cigarettes as well.
POMS has also taken measures to prevent students from vaping. Health classes educate students on the dangers of vaping, smoking, and other nicotine products. If students are found in possession of any nicotine products, they are suspended if not expelled.
E-cigarettes are a very dangerous item, and should not be administered especially by any middle schoolers, as they can even lead to death like the epidemics taking place now.