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The Vaping Issue at WHS

By Sam Sikora

Vaping has become to our generation what smoking was to the previous generations. It is plain and simple. It is an epidemic. We hear this all over the news. Each week it seems like there is a new study or controversy regarding vaping. But is vaping really as bad as everyone has made it out to be? Is it an issue at WHS? What can be done to halt the problem locally? 

Let’s start with the basic statistics. Recently, the CDC made the claim that as of September of 2019, one out of every four high school students vape. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are roughly 15.3 million students enrolled in High School for the Fall of 2019. That means there are roughly 3.8 million students in high school that vape. To put that into perspective, there are 3.3 million students are set to graduate from public high schools this spring (NCCES). That is a big problem. But are these statistics accurate locally? Well I decided to find out. Over social media, I created an anonymous poll regarding vaping. It was a simple, short poll. My first question just simply asked the question: “Have you ever vaped before?” My results were rather shocking. Roughly 83% who took the poll had vaped before. My second question, which was dependent on the first, asked those who had vaped as to how regularly they vape. Of those who had vaped, 40% said they rarely vape, 27% said they vaped every now and again, and 33% said they vaped on a daily basis. My poll only represents a small population of the high school. However, if I was able to poll every student, I believe the results would not be too far off. 

So we know the statistics on vaping, but how does everyone feel about vaping? Do vapers want a change? According to one anonymous vaper, the answer is yes. “Although it’s something fun to do, it’s a very serious matter,” they said. “It is deeply affecting people’s lives and health.” The vaper also claimed that vaping “is not a safer alternative to smoking” and that its health questions are “intimidating.” I then asked them about the environment of vaping at WHS. When asked about if WHS has a vaping problem, they answered “Absolutely. I have seen 5 or more people vaping in a bathroom at one time.” According to the vaper, vaping is also a distraction from class. They claimed that they take frequent bathroom breaks to hit their vape. 

What should WHS do about this? Well the vaper claimed that while stricter regulations is a good thing, the school would struggle to enforce the rules. They claimed more frequent bathroom checks would be a step in the right direction. No matter what, they agreed that something needs to be done. 

Vaping has become not only a widespread problem nationally, but also here locally at WHS. With health concerns regarding vaping rising, the issue is becoming more and more daunting. Instead of a generation hooked on tobacco products, our generation is becoming the one addicted to vaping, or more specifically, nicotine. With no resolution nationally or locally, vaping is an epidemic that is only going to continue to spiral downward.

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