Vaping at Vista


photo graphic by Madeline Gentry

Madeleine Gentry, Writer

Most people recognize the dangers of cigarette usage, especially for children and teenagers. Fewer, though, realize the harmful impacts that more recently developed electronic cigarettes have on adolescents.

Electronic cigarettes, more commonly known as vape pens, were first marketed in the United States in 2006 for recovering nicotine addicts. Companies that sold vape pens advertised that they contained less nicotine than regular cigarettes, therefore posing a lower health risk. 

Tobacco companies announced flavored “juices” such as mint, candy, and birthday cake for their products a few years later. Although most electronic cigarette companies deny advertising their products to teenagers, more than 43% of teenagers said they first tried vaping due to its appealing flavors. The CDC also reports that 70% of high school students have seen e-cigarette advertising in newspapers, TV shows, and online. 

Students at Vista del Lago High School report that vaping is a problem on our campus as well. “I think vaping is a huge problem at Vista because of how stressed students are… The school should provide more supportive sources so that students can feel safer and avoid life-threatening mechanisms,” said freshman Parmis Ranjbar. 

Few schools provide the mental health support systems that Ranjbar suggested. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, only about 38% of high schools support students with mental illnesses and addictions. Students that admit to vaping are often scared they will be punished instead of supported, further preventing them from seeking treatment. 

Some students have suggestions for how Vista can eliminate vaping once and for all and establish our school as a tobacco-free campus. “Maybe doing shorter bathroom breaks or having people check the bathroom more often,” said freshman Jillian Petree. Teachers report that most students who vape do so in bathrooms or stairwells.

No matter the solution, schools must act quickly to ease the vaping epidemic and protect students’ health.