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The Rise and Fall of Vaping

by Esha Dhar

Amidst recent national attention on the dangers of vaping, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney, State Senator Joseph Vitale, and State Senator Shirley Turner have announced their support of Governor Phil Murphy’s executive order against vaping products and have taken initiatives to limit their availability.

Vaping is the use of an e-cigarette, a battery-powered device that heats liquid containing nicotine, flavoring, and chemicals to create a vapor that is then inhaled. There are many different brands but one of the most popular brands is JUUL.

Governor Murphy’s Executive Order Number 84 issued September 21 created a ten-member Electronic Cigarette Task Force. Lead by New Jersey Department of Health Acting Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli, the group will research the risks of vaping and is expected to return recommendations on how to proceed in about 21 days. In addition, Sweeney has called for a phased-in ban on the devices.

It is no secret that e-cigarettes have taken the United States by storm. Originally introduced to help tobacco cigarette smokers quit smoking, E-cigarettes have found enormous popularity among high school and college students, especially with their sleek design and fascinating flavored pods.

According to Truth initiative: Inspiring Tobacco-free Lives:

“Using e-cigarettes is substantially less harmful to individual health than inhaling smoke from combustible tobacco, such as cigarettes and cigars. However, while e-cigarettes contain far fewer toxins than combustible cigarettes, they are not free of toxins and still deliver harmful chemicals.”

The US Center for Disease Control has reported that 77% of recent lung injuries occurred when using off-market vaping products that contained THC, the ingredient produced by cannabis that produces the high sensation, and warns that, while it is investigating recent injuries associated with vaping, people should refrain from using any e-cigarettes.

When a student is caught vaping at Hopewell Valley Central High School, their tool is confiscated and checked for chemicals like THC, their parents or guardians are notified, and they have a meeting with the school resource counselor. The recent headlines of the dangers of vaping have led to a decline in popularity of JUULs amongst high schoolers in HVCHS.

One student remarked, “Seeing the news has definitely opened my eyes to how harmful JUULs can be. It reminds me of how people didn’t really know the health risks of cigarettes back then and how harmful those consequences were. The headlines have discouraged my friends and me from use for sure.”

The best solution to avoid the repercussions of vaping is to not start in the first place.

In the words of Natalie Eustis, a senior at HVCHS, “If you want to Juul a fruit flavor just eat the fruit!”

Sources: https://truthinitiative.org/research-resources/emerging-tobacco-products/e-cigarettes-facts-stats-and-regulations, https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/p0927-thc-vaping.html

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