Is Teen Smoking Still A Problem?

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Jeronimo Restrepo, Freelance Writer

It’s not only a trend; it’s a reality. More and more TCS students are being introduced to this horrible reality of “vapes,” while the mental and health effects that vapes bring are ignored.

Studies from the World Health Organization, focusing on adolescent health and well being, have revealed that e-cigarette smoking levels among teenagers starting from 15 and above are incredibly high. The trend has come to a level at which it’s almost impossible to control, and schools have consequently reduced their interest in this problem. Schools should take a more significant role in this problem and implement policies to reduce the number of students introduced to smoking every year. According to research from the World Health Organization, school policies, interventions, and interactions to raise awareness about adolescent smoking and vaping will help solve this problem.

The latest research on Health Behaviour in School-aged Children says that anti-smoking policies, anti-tobacco stickers, and ads have a massive effect on teen smoking worldwide. “The school is doing a good job, making meetings and inviting professional guests that know about the topic, but still they should be a lot more strict about this problem,” Simon Rodriguez, TCS student, said. TCS is making its best effort to stop this trend, but the numbers of students smoking are still dangerously high. Smoking not only takes place in school, but it is also a problem outside of campus, which worries the parents and principals. The more the school takes part in this problem, the less they have to work on it in the future, when it becomes almost impossible to control. Schools worldwide teach their students how dangerous the cigarette is, but children seek alternatives to evade the cigarette and turn to the e-cigarette or vape. Although the trend is high, it has been controlled over the years, as fewer students are being caught smoking at school. According to the latest National Youth Tobacco Survey, 1.73 million fewer middle and high schools are using tobacco and nicotine products in 2020, compared to 2019. The trend is getting lower, but this doesn’t mean that schools need to stop insisting and acting.

When students want to peer pressure their friends into trying a vape, they will typically say something along the lines of “vapes and e-cigarettes do not really cause you any harm.” But, trying vapes at a young age can cause huge addiction problems, which in the future are harder to control, or that can escalate to worse ones, said the US Food and Drug Administration. E-cigarettes should be introduced in a better way to younger people. Nicotine, tobacco, e-cigarettes, and vapes are introduced to teenagers the way they shouldn’t be. The rate of students getting introduced into smoking e-cigarettes and vapes before 18 is still too high. According to, Minsalud.com, in Colombia, approximately 9 million people smoked regularly in the past year, and 17% were from 16 to 18. Nowadays, a vape is a common device used by teenagers at any party or reunion. Vape or e-cigarettes have become indispensable for teens. “If you go to a party or a place, you will see a lot of kids with vapes or electronic cigarettes, and they will be sharing it around,” Simon Rodriguez, TCS student, said. Teenagers don’t know the consequences that these products leave on their bodies. Smoking-related diseases cause approximately 20,000 deaths annually in Colombia, reported Minsalud.com in 2020. Getting introduced to vaping at a young age can cause long-term diseases like chronic lung disease and lung damage. Mental issues such as depression and anxiety can surge from smoking at such a young age. Almost 80% of frequent vapers say they want to quit smoking, said El Ministerio de Salud Colombia. One of the reasons why they don’t want to stop is the pressure that society has on them, but this pressure is one of the most significant factors to quit. 

A call to action is what the school needs to reduce the trend and take care of students’ health—more interactions, professional meetings, and presentations that show the effects of vapes and e-cigarettes. The school needs to take a bigger step into this problem, but in the end, the person is the one that has the final decision; it’s on you. You decide to take care of your mind, body, friends, and family.