The Vaping Epidemic: An Explainer

BY JUDE HART

Decades ago, MHS teachers had a smoking lounge. Here, they were able to smoke cigs and read the paper without interruption from students.

However, with the stigmatization of cigarettes and laws against public smoking in recent years, there’s no longer a need for smoking rooms. Many people view first- and second-hand tobacco smoke as unhealthy and potentially life-threatening.

2017 has seen the introduction of new “smoking rooms” at MHS. These, unlike the teachers’ smoking lounge, are used by students. And they’re not sanctioned by the school.

“People go into the bathroom to vape,” says junior Nolan Buck. “It’s becoming a real problem.”

A bathroom stall in which I once spotted someone vaping. (PHOTO BY HART)

“Vaping is really big now. Almost everyone’s doing it,” says sophomore Isabelle Gardner.

“Freshmen, seniors, all ages do it,” says freshman Courtney Kubicki. “Even 8th graders do it.”

Vaping, or “Juuling” as it’s often called (after the name of the most popular nicotine-based e-cigarette brand), has become a popular pastime for Mariemont students.

Students point to one reason why vaping’s become such a widespread phenomenon–it looks cool.

“They just think it’s cool to do. That’s the only reason they do it,” says junior Sinclaire Dorsten. “They do vape tricks and just mess around with them at parties.”  

“They see older kids doing it, and they follow in their footsteps,” says Gardner.

As well, some students agree that vaping is causing problems at MHS.

An example of a Juul e-cigarette. (PHOTO BY GOOGLE)

“It smells really bad, and it’s just obnoxious,” says senior Whitney Weiss. “It can give you cancer. I just sent an article to my friend about it.”  

“Parents don’t know what Juul pods look like, so kids just leave them lying around, and the parents can’t do anything about it,” says senior Ellie Normile. 

“Vaping definitely doesn’t help with athletics,” says Buck. “It can mess with your lungs.”

People don’t know what to do about the issue. Some believe that the administration should tackle it head-on while others want to leave the issue alone.

“We need to fix this,” says Dorsten. “I heard the administration threatened to do random searches in backpacks, and that really scared everyone. They should do things like that.”

“Just let things play out. If it happens at school, take care of it. If not, leave it alone,” says Kubicki.

Master Class teacher Mr. Schnug talks to a wide variety of students throughout the day, and he understands the daily goings-on at MHS.

Schnug says, “People have been getting in trouble for smoking in schools since schools have existed. But the fact is, these vapes are definitely not healthy for children. Students need to realize this and cut it out.”

 

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