Alarming trend catches attention
Teens react differently to vape trend
May 15, 2015
Deep breath in, exhale slow and concentrate on what you want the “smoke,” which is actually vapor, to look like. There is no high, only satisfaction when you see what you’ve made for the few minutes it floats in the air before disappearing.
Junior Robert Ramirez has been experiencing this satisfaction for three years now. He was originally attracted to vape pens because of seeing various smoke tricks on Instagram and Vine, and he decided to try it out on his own. As a long-term user he has mastered more than a few of those tricks he saw on social media, including, but not limited to, the classic “O”, tornadoes, french inhale, ghosts and various “air bending” tricks.
Ramirez sees nothing wrong with his ownership or use, both of which are legal, and in some cases making his own “mods” of the popular e-cigarette variation. Over his approximate three years of use he has been through about five pens, including the mods he has made.
He is certainly not alone in his consumption.
CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey revealed that use of these smoking products has increased from 4.5 percent to 13.4 percent between 2013 and 2014 alone.
According to California Health and Safety Code section 119405, it is illegal for any smoking product to be sold to a minor; but the code never addresses the ownership or use of said product.
In actuality, using an e-cigarette is called vaping; so what is the point of a vape pen?
A vape pen is simply a branch of the wide variations of e-cigarettes out there that have been popularized by teens everywhere. However, while e-cigarettes are classified as a tool for therapeutic use, vape pens are not. Unlike those who use e-cigarettes to get off of the real deal, Ramirez uses it for its visual stimulation. “Most people use it to stop smoking, to get off nicotine,” he said. “Others use it for fun.”
Ramirez knows there is much left unsaid about vaping products: what the “juice” or flavoring contains for instance, as it is not required to be disclosed by law — his favorite of which is “tortoise blood,” a green liquid with a “soda-like” taste — or of the long-term effects it may have on him. Despite this, he remains confident that his health is not being compromised.
Marcus Sherman, biology teacher, sees them as a nuisance rather than something to be used “for fun.” “They can be used to get high — by smoking hash oil — just without the smell.”
Sophomore Isaha Jimenez also doesn’t see the point in using a vape pen, considering as they are an e-cigarette.
“I don’t like how it’s becoming the next cigarette, the next big thing.” Jimenez knows nothing from personal use but rather what he sees in his everyday life.
“It can contain what a cigarette contains, and just look different,” he said. “What’s the point?”
As someone against cigarettes in general, seeing his peers use vape pens is more irritating that intriguing for Jimenez. “I don’t think they even know what could be in them. It can mess up your lungs, mess up your life.”
Limited knowledge on the subject is not for lack of exposure but rather an extreme opposition in that situation. As it is not required by law for the ingredients in these liquids to be publicized, one may be at risk when using these products.
“If I don’t know what’s in them, why would I risk putting that in me?.”