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High School Epidemic

High schools and organizations are fighting against teens using nicotine.

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High School Epidemic

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Kayne Buckley

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The trend in high schools is not fidgeting with spinners anymore. It has become way more dangerous. Numbers indicate that the use of nicotine through vaping has increased substantially. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and high schools across the United States have been cracking down on this epidemic.

Studies have shown that the use of nicotine through vaping has skyrocketed 500% since 2014. It is even showing up in middle schools, too. The attempt to lower these numbers is in full effect.

The FDA has noticed the increase of nicotine use in teens. They have threatened popular companies that sell vape products, including the most common one seen around schools, Juul. All of the companies have 60 days to come up with a solution to reduce the amount of nicotine use in teens. If they fail to do so, some products will come off of the market.

“Nicotine addiction is a serious problem. Not just at our school, but at all schools. A lot of students have transitioned from smoking cigarettes to vaping, and vaping has been proven to be just as dangerous as smoking,” said Lebanon High School principal Kevin Lowery.

Mr. Lowery and other administrators are enforcing the rules in the high school. 

“In fact, our rules specify vaping as well as tobacco and smokeless products as being in violation of our policy,” Lowery said.

The principal expresses his emotions on addiction.

“My biggest worry is that students will start early in life, become addicted, and then will have a lot of health problems as they become older. Heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, everything that we know now about smoking that has proven to be very dangerous and deadly,” Lowery said.

Studies have shown that the percentage of high school students who smoke cigarettes has dropped from 24% to 20% since 2011, but the numbers of other methods, like vaping, have increased substantially. 500,000 middle schoolers across the country are vaping.

“Well, I think we have seen a decrease in students who smoke on campus. Part of that I think is because cigarettes aren’t so inexpensive anymore. Several years ago, cigarettes were not very expensive; now some are five dollars a pack, and that’s a real concern for people who are addicted, but don’t have a lot of money. Vaping is becoming more popular, and I think students don’t see it as a health risk like tobacco products, but in reality it has just as many harmful chemicals as a cigarette does. So yeah, I think kids are not smoking as much, but they are replacing one bad habit with another,¨ Lowery said.

The Lebanon principal also advocated the move that the FDA is making to reduce underage addiction.

“I think that’s a great move. Anything companies can do to keep underage students from using their products and getting addicted I think is a good thing,” Lowery said.

Although he agrees with the move, he is unsure that it will be effective. However, he thinks the effort is worth a try.

Teens are becoming addicted to all of these products. The trend is an unsafe one, and it is going to get worse if it does not end soon. Vaping and other methods of nicotine use are relatively easy for students to get their hands on, and Mr. Lowery thinks that is why the move is ineffective.

“Not in our free market where people have access to those products in grocery stores, convenience stores, and in Walmart. I mean, as long as those products are available, students who want to use them or try them will have access to them,” Lowery said.

 

 

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High School Epidemic