As we all know, vaping has been sweeping high schools across the continent for the past few years. A high percentage of teens, and even preteens, are taking up the habit. Some are using it as an alternative to cigarettes, but many are just going straight to vaping due to its popularity.
School District 83 is running a presentation circuit in the region the past few weeks, with their most recent stop at A.L. Fortune Secondary School in Enderby. A medical professional and student mental health counsellor spoke, and some the school’s administration were in attendance as well.
“We are dealing with so many kids vaping, and we are trying to educate them on the health risks of it,” says Principal Scott Anderson. “The script has totally been flipped from what it was a few years ago. For every one cigarette smoker I’d say there’s about 10 vapers, which is the opposite of what it used to be.”
There is no definitive degree as to how physically unhealthy vaping is, there simply hasn’t been enough time to determine the long-term effects it has on the body. The disease ‘popcorn lung’ comes from vape flavours with a butter component, because the synthetic flavour taste comes from a chemical called diacetyl. While there are cases of popcorn lung due to vaping, buttery flavours are near the bottom of the list in terms of popularity.
What medical professionals refer to vaping-related diseases and ailments is EVALI, which stands for E-cigarette or Vaping Associated Lung Injury. It’s broad term which encompasses all vaping-related injuries, because again, there hasn’t been much time to conduct thorough research.
As part of the presentation, there was a video from a couple of Grade 10 students in Salmon Arm. They said they tried vaping as early as Grade 6, but didn’t become fully addicted until about Grade 9. They have tried to quit multiple times, and still want to, but physically can’t beat the addiction yet.
There were some concerned parents in the crowd, who were wondering how to help or prevent their child from vaping. The advice given was to try to have an open conversation with the child about it, and discuss the health effects it can have and how to avoid and resolve peer pressure situations.