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Vaping in a Md. high school

Morgan Bragg, a student at Clarksburg High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, reports in The Howl that vaping is a “problem” among high school students, who bring e-cigarettes and THC products to school with increasing frequency.

One question not answered in Mr Bragg’s article is where students, who are under 21, the current legal age for purchasing tobacco products in Maryland, are getting the materials for vaping. Certainly they are not getting the starter kits or pods from stores that flash neon signs in their faces. So where do they come from?

But the article does answer some important questions about vaping in high school that bear repeating on these pages:

  • “People are getting so addicted to Juuling,” one junior is quoted as saying, referring to the most popular manufacturer of e-cigarettes. “They are doing more and more crazy stuff just so that they can get a hit, even if that means risking their future.”
  • “People need to realize that drugs mess your body up really bad,” another junior at the school said. “When you are addicted to drugs, you never get out of it. It is a never-ending circle of addiction.”

Voxitatis reported earlier this month that the prevalence of vaping in US high schools has increased dramatically in recent years. In addition to becoming addicted to nicotine, users of e-cigarettes risk severe lung injury and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal government is currently investigating nearly 1,500 cases of lung damage linked to vaping, some of them fatal. Patients said they vaped THC, marijuana’s intoxicating chemical, with bootleg devices, but officials have not yet implicated any common product or ingredient.

Juul Labs, which sells more e-cigarettes than any other manufacturer, announced Thursday they would stop selling fruit and dessert flavors, acknowledging the public’s “lack of trust” in the vaping industry, according to news reports carried by the Associated Press.

The voluntary step is the company’s latest attempt to weather a growing political backlash that blames its flavored nicotine-rich products for hooking a generation of teenagers on electronic cigarettes.

“We must reset the vapor category by earning the trust of society and working cooperatively with regulators, policymakers, and stakeholders,” the San Francisco-based company’s new CEO, KC Crosthwaite, said in a statement that follows recognition by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids that about two-thirds of e-cigarette-using high school students vape mint- or menthol-flavored brands.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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