Dying From Vape Lung

Katherine Tarpley, Cen10 News Reporter

The use of cigarettes has been in decline for years now. It went from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 15.5 percent in 2016. The biggest issues for Big Tobacco now is trying to stay alive and make money. When vaping came onto the scene years ago, most thought it was going to rival Big Tobacco, especially because it was supposed to be used to stop smoking. If anything, it just made it stronger. Most of the vaping companies have been bought out by Big Tobacco. They are using the same excuse they’ve always been using, “Vaping will help you stop smoking.” But Big Tobacco doesn’t care about any of that. They’re trying to keep themselves relevant, and vaping is helping keep them afloat. Big Tobacco only wants money, and what they see in kids is financial gain. 

Hundreds of kids have been ushered to the hospital in recent weeks due to a mysterious illness (also been dubbed the “Vaping Illness” or “Vape Lung”). Symptoms include: cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea. LiveScience.com states that, “Based on the limited information, the ‘most likely’ explanation is that a toxic chemical in the electronic cigarettes is causing a ‘severe reactive, inflammatory’ response in the patients’ lungs, said Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University’s School of Public Health.” Respiratory illness is the leading cause, yet it’s not connected to any main respiratory diseases, like pneumonia. 

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, it mentions, “480,000 people die each year from smoking related causes and is the leading cause of preventable deaths”. CDC is in the beginning of their investigation and they aren’t even sure if it is connected to the device, what’s inside, or even if it has something to do with vaping itself.

Recently, I was able to interview students at Centennial High School about the vaping epidemic. Harrison Yaklin, a junior, started off with, “Vaping has become the norm at Centennial and teachers are becoming more aware when kids leave to go to the bathroom.” He mentions, “Kids rarely get caught and when they do, they only get ISS. The punishment should be bigger because they are literally doing drugs on school grounds. Anyone can go to ISS and be fine with it, I’ve (gone to ISS), and it only sets the kid back in school work and isolates them.” He believes, “It’s not worth it, it’s stupid, and you die quicker.”

  A Junior, who would like to remain anonymous, explained, “When people run out of juice in juuls, they take off the cap (inside are two strips of cotton and they collect any vape juice that accidentally comes up, also helps to not burn the mouth) and then take the cotton strips out. They put in the bottom where the juice intake is. By doing that, they get a couple more hits off a pod, but in doing so, they might be inhaling the cotton. Mostly when cotton runs out juice, they get a lung full of cotton. Everyone who uses a juul does it basically.” He also stated that, “Everyone wants to stop vaping but it’s hard to get help as a teenager because they don’t know how or they will get in trouble if they ask.” He disclosed, “I was down on hard times and got attached to vaping because I felt like it helped me. But I know it’s killing me.” 

Consequences of vaping have been unknown, but now it’s causing illness and death with no reported benefits. Vaping was never meant to become what it is now. Learn the effects and consequences of vaping to educate yourself. And remember: Don’t do drugs, kids.