Students seek to escape the vape


A student vapes in a bathroom.

Note: The students quoted in this article have not been identified by name in order to protect their privacy.

46% of teens vape almost every day.

Throughout the past year TCS’s Middle and High Schools have dealt with a rapidly increasing rate of students vaping with a growing and apparently never-ending trend.

It definitely happens more than I would like it to happen. It’s not just a Columbus School thing, it’s a universal thing. This is a problem that is happening in schools all over the United States and all over the world,” Paul Navarra, HS Vice Principal, said. “In fact, I’ve heard that there’s been a few cases in the Elementary School too, 4th and 5th grade.”

The e-cigarette was invented in 2003 by a Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik, who was looking for an alternative to conventional smoking. Since then, the vaping industry has expanded across the world, due to its high nicotine content, its attractive, fruity flavors, and the advertising aimed at teenagers.

At TCS, dozens of students vape as a habit, ranging from people who vape daily and even hourly, to those who only do so at social gatherings.

According to a grade 11 student, “All the parties that I go to and when I go to hang out with my friends there is always at least one vape so that’s why it has been so hard for me to quit vaping.” 

However, many students do not consider themselves addicted to vaping, but rather a habit they could leave at any time.

According to another grade 11 student, “I first tried vape in seventh grade, though I only started vaping consistently in 10th grade. I don’t think I’m addicted to vaping, it’s just that I keep craving the feeling of when I vape, but I don’t think I depend on it and I would be okay if there weren’t any vapes around.”

Recently, many students have decided to quit vaping due to the harmful effects on their health, the cost, the fear of getting caught by parents or teachers, among other reasons.

As time goes on more and more research reveals the dangers of vaping, advising people to quit now before it becomes too late. A great number of vapers have already developed a noticeable addiction, the reason why many have decided to take action on their health and future, quitting vape now once and for all.

According to a grade 12 student, “I’ve been trying to quit for like a year now. At first, I started because I noticed how addicted my brother was, but now I have all kinds of reasons. Most of my friends are addicted, my two brothers are, the incredible amount of negative effects vape has on the body, the money I have to invest in it, and other things that make me say ‘I can’t do it anymore.’”

Despite the popular trend among TCS students to quit vaping, many teenagers were unsuccessful in their attempt, eventually coming back to the habit.

According to a grade 10 student, “I think that it can be really easy to quit vaping if it wasn’t for all temptations and everything around. I have tried to quit several times but there’s just a lot of vapes around me, in school, parties, and even my own house. I think I could totally resist vaping if I didn’t hear and see so much of it every day.”

Several students have managed to quit, which is a challenge considering vape addiction is much stronger than traditional cigarettes. One study found that overall, only 15% of the participants managed to quit. Another study found that 68.1% of e-cigarette users also continue to smoke tobacco. 

“For me, it wasn’t really hard, I just told myself, ‘I’m not going to vape again,’ and I never did it again,” Tomas Galeano, Grade 10, said.

For some people quitting vaping is quite easy, but for others, it requires much more work.

According to an anonymous grade 10 student, “I tried quitting several times, but failed lots of times. I realized that I wouldn’t be able to quit it immediately. So I created a system, I started gradually lowering my vape usage until I was able to quit once and for all.”

“If they think they are addicted, reach out, because vaping is super addictive. It’s like the difference between a Red Bull and a Coca-Cola: that’s the difference between a vape and a cigarette,” Navarra said.