By Hannah Daniele, Millbrook High School Student
Illustrated by Lyle Bicking, Kingston High School Student
There’s no way to stop it. I have a master. It controls every inch of me, my body, soul and mind. I have to visit it a few times a day, otherwise I fear I’ll go insane. It hurts to be away for too long, I start to feel weak, my body aches and I struggle to act rationally. When I finally see it, everything seems whole, the world is whimsical and perfect. It is all I need, all I could ever want. It is perfect. It becomes my everything, I will do anything to get to it. I desire for more despite my brain protesting, as if my actions have been severed from my thoughts. It changes me into somebody who would sicken most people, but I can’t help but love it. Love the energy and happiness it brings. I’m not the only one who visits it; there are others like me too.
Until we discover the full effect of these devices, we are the rats eating the tasty poison. Battery-operated cigarettes are devices that look like real cigarettes with refillable tanks containing nicotine, flavorings and chemicals. Vape pods are saturated in harmful amounts of nicotine, like clouds full of pollutants ready to downpour.
The number of young people using vape products has grown dramatically since last year, with Juuls being the most popular brand consumed by teens. They and other companies promote their products through social media, television and radio, aggressively targeting youth by introducing appealing flavors (like crème brûlée, mango, fruit medley, cotton candy) and designs. These devices are not only getting kids hooked on a habit that’s known to cause deadly diseases of the heart and lungs, but also creating a gateway to smoking actual cigarettes and potentially using other drugs in the future.
It’s hard to watch young people with brilliant minds destroying their bodies by vaping. Saying no to Juuls would be a big step toward slowing this movement. Peer pressure and social situations—in addition to the e-cigarette companies—encourage the habit of (ab)using vape products. Developing the ability to deny these addictive devices is a skill and should be encouraged by friends and family.
Advocates for vaping products would say they are actually helping people to quit their smoking habit. However, it seems people are using them less to quit smoking than they are to boost their social image. To fit in.
If you’re smoking to appear independent, think again. You’re doing exactly what someone else wants you to do: smoke.
The overuse of e-cigarettes causes negative behavior patterns and is an undeniably hard habit to give up. Would you choose to be a part of this escalating trend or choose a life without addiction? █