Vaping trend still strong

Vaping has revived smoking culture among students

Danny Kogan

Cigarettes have long been taboo among New Trier students, but the introduction of vapes into our culture has allowed students to view smoking as stylish.

The vaping industry has argued that vapes are healthy substitutes to smoking, and claim that vaping can reduce smoking temptations, leading to vapes being marketed as smoking cessation products.

Senior Nicole Katz said, “Vapes can help kids not get addicted to smoking, but I think it’s kind of stupid if you’re using it just to look cool”.

In the hallways of New Trier, the use of vaping is increasing.

A survey conducted from 2011-2012 by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health found that “only 1% of respondents used liquid without nicotine,” revealing that the vast majority of people use nicotine in their vapes.

“This year we’ve noticed vapes being used inside of school, but it really only comes to your attention when someone tells you something or someone is acting a particular way on campus,” New Trier Principal Denise Dubravec said.

This year, Cook County and the city of Chicago passed laws restricting ways people can purchase vapes and cigarettes.

A person must now be 21, instead of 18, in order to purchase cigarettes within the boundaries of Cook County. Legislators believe this will assist in decreasing nicotine use among underage smokers, as many 18 year olds buy nicotine products for their younger friends.

“I’ve seen students vape during extra-curricular games, inside the hallways, and even classes,” said Senior Susan Mogck.

As people have started questioning the legitimacy of vapes, the act of vaping has become taboo, following the legacy of cigarettes. But the efforts to decrease the use of Nicotine may be too late.

In 2015 the Juul vaporizer was released. Juul’s are small, discreet eCigs that resemble USB flash drives. Many teenagers and adults have started to use Juuls to hide their addiction to eCigs.

“Juuls are a genius of marketing. As vapes were starting to become unpopular the Juul came into the picture and pretty much allowed people to vape discreetly, and safe from the  judgements of others,” said Katz.

While there has not been enough time to understand the effects of vaporizers in the long term, many worry that the rise of vaporizers has allowed teenagers and adults to view cigarette smoking as socially acceptable.

“I think people can make their own decisions but they should also know how the product works and what chemicals they’re putting in their body,” said junior Kelsey Ortega.

Some students agree that vaping is distracting. “I saw a kid in my class prank the teacher by pretending he was Juuling. He put his fist over his mouth, and started to cough, but when the teacher threatened to send him to the adviser chair, he opened up his fist and showed that their was nothing in his hand,” said senior Tatum Macklin

The vast majority move on to vaping with nicotine, neglecting the health risks that come with it.

“We have highly educated kids at New Trier, who think about the risks and the consequences of their actions. I hope our kids use their intelligence not just in the classroom, but in everyday decisions that they make,” said Dubravec.

Students believe this is simply a trend, “Gone are the middle school days when Webkinz were the main trend. Vaping has become New Trier’s fad, but I think it will become unpopular eventually,” said Katz.

This generation was on track to become the first generation to end smoking, but this is no longer the case. Vaping has become a hidden epidemic deeply rooted in  high school society.