The New Fume
February 26, 2015
Do you vape? Chances are that almost every student in Diamond Bar High School is or knows a vaper. Smoking electronic cigarettes has become as popular as traditional smokes. Recently, the Bull’s Eye staff interviewed students who partake in smoking e-cigarettes.
To obtain the feedback for this article the reporters granted anonymity to the students.
One student stated how vaping has become more popular than smoking among high school students.
“I think vape is popular among teens because it is a ‘non-harmful’ thing to smoke. That makes them feel cool, or simply it’s a fun thing to do for young teens and they enjoy the action of smoking and getting a flavored taste,” he said. “I think it’s becoming big because it has all the benefits at time of smoking without all the hassle.”
One DBHS senior claimed that his parents were not upset when he told them that he has been trying e-cigarettes. He was already a regular smoker of tradition cigarettes.
“They were OK with it since it was fake,” he said through Facebook, concerning his past use of e-cigarettes. “It felt really good when I took it during the addiction,” he said. “It just made me feel relaxed.”
This user noticed his friend vaping and decided to try it out of curiosity since he did not know what it was. Although the senior reported some craving, he said that he did not feel enough addiction to continue, and stopped vaping after about 30 uses.
One reason these new devices have gained popularity is the advancements of its physical appearance. Unlike the cigarette, the e-cigarette is mainly made up of three replaceable parts: the battery, the atomizer and the cartridge. The cartridge is one of the key elements to e-cigarettes because it contains e-liquid. Once heated from the battery, the e-liquid will then evaporate into smoke. E-cigarettes are intended to appeal to many because buyers can choose whether their e-cigarettes contain nicotine, tar and flavor.
Just like regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes can be purchased by anyone 18 and over. This makes it easier for high school students to obtain this merchandise not only in person but online as well. Most e-cigarettes are sold in starter kits ranging from $12 to $200. Some even gain their e-cigarettes through connections such as friends who meet the age requirement.
Purchasing an electronic cigarette is no hard task for the students of Diamond Bar. Students report having experiences of purchasing an e-cig, or components of it, in nearby shops located in Diamond Bar, Rowland Heights and Walnut. The lack of legal procedures of carding customers is greatly servicing the rise of e-smoking. With already four shops in the vicinity of DBHS to have reportedly sold e-cigs to underage smokers, there are more opportunities and access other students have in their respective area , thus a ground-breaking record in underage electronic smoking.
While there are shops that do follow procedures, such as Vape Section located in Diamond Bar, not enough stores are following laws and regulations to protect the health of the youth.
“Every person is required to get carded that looks under the age of 32. We have to ID. Ultimately everyone gets ‘ID’ed.’ By law, it’s an 18 and over establishment, standard just like any other smoke shop. We are pretty good with our carding and servicing,” an employee at Vape Section commented.
Another past user, a junior, used flavored e-cigarettes. She was attracted to the vape after observing a group of friends using e-cigarettes and blowing rings.
“Vape is about as readily available to us teens as cigarettes, they can be bought almost anywhere and by anyone who’s 18,” she said. “I know a few people [who vape]. It’s not as cool now as it was a few years ago. Quite honestly, it’s not that big of a deal and more people smoke cigarettes or marijuana than vape.”
She did not recall that vaping flavored e-cigarettes was perceptible to others, and there was only a subtle smell upon inhaling.
“However, if I worked out right afterwards, my lung capacity seemed tighter and it was somewhat harder to breathe. But that feeling went away after a few hours.”
This user continued smoking until her e-cigarette pen broke and she didn’t feel that it was necessary to buy one.
“I neither recommend nor not recommend vaping—I think it’s a silly fad that won’t last a while. It is a good experience to try once though. As long as you don’t get the kind with nicotine in it,” she commented.
Recently, due to the uprising of e-cigarettes among young teens and adults, the government of California has decided a campaign against it. They are planning to create tighter regulations for adults and minors and even ban vaping in certain areas.
“I’m advising Californians, including those who currently use tobacco, to avoid using e-cigarettes,” Dr. Ron Chapman, state health officer, said during a conference call. “E-cigarettes … re-normalize smoking behavior and introduce a new generation to nicotine addiction.”
According to the data published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, use of e-cigarettes among high school students has doubled over the years of 2011-2012, from 4.7% to 10.0%. In 2012, over 1.78 million teens had tried e-cigarettes.
“The increased use of e-cigarettes by teens is deeply troubling,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes.”
Many teens have continued to purchase and actively use e-cigarettes with or without nicotine.
The popularity of cigarettes has actually been slowly decreasing among high school students based on a study conducted by several sources such as the Minnesota Department of Health. On the other hand, e-cigarettes have been gaining popularity among high school students, whether it be constantly using them or simply puffing it once.
“[I] started because of stress and friends. I know that if I don’t quit early then it’ll be even harder to quit in the future,” one DB student said.
As it grows more popular, more students influence friends to try it out, expanding the area of influence around the school.
“It’s similar to smoking, in that you still feel the nicotine and there’s still that harsh feeling in the back of your throat. Personally I think vaping is better because it’s not as bad as cigarettes. [It] tastes better and I can also do it indoors like at home,” the user said. “There’s a scent, since the juices for vapes are flavored, but the scent is significantly less intrusive than cigarette smoke.”