Editorial writer calls on school to step up anti-vaping measures

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The smell of bubble gum and mint still sometimes waft from the bathroom stalls. Kids sneak their Juuls into the bathroom just to get a “buzz.” This demonstration is viewed by many peers as students “just being teens.” In the grand scheme of things, vaping may not seem like such a big deal; some may even say it’s harmless. However, that is not the case.

The community, administration and students here at Prosper need to take further action to educate and enforce the consequences vaping can cause.

According to The Centers or Disease Control and Prevention, 4.9 percent of all middle schoolers have admitted to vaping. This statistic may seem minuscule, but when you truly dissect the situation, nearly 5 percent of kids ages 11-14 and 20 percent of all high schoolers are developing a habit that will only hinder them in the future. Nicotine is a toxic substance; it increases blood pressure, increasing chances of a heart attack. Nicotine has the power to affect behavioral patterns and may even be responsible for the development of sleep disorders.  Not only is nicotine an issue, but the vape juice in e-cigarettes often contains a number of potentially toxic chemical substances (such as propylene glycol) which are dangerous when inhaled.

Part of the problem is students are not properly informed about the harmful effects vaping can have. When talking to an anonymous student here at Prosper about said consequences, her response was “that’s not true.” If students were properly informed on the effects that vaping and nicotine can cause, the problem may be diminished.

Not surprisingly, vaping products are prohibited on campus, not only are Juuls and e-cigarettes brought to school, but they are actively used. Students disobey the school policy time and time again without receiving any “real punishment,” as it is viewed by many offenders. Perhaps one of the main reasons kids continue to challenge school policy is because they know that the consequences aren’t really all that bad. Yes, they may receive a day or two of ISS, but at the end of the day, they aren’t being given any consequence to truly have an effect on their behavior. Not only does bringing these products on campus defy school policy, but by participating in this as a minor, they are defying the law. Students are still defying policy, despite any efforts made by the administration to stop this problem. The school has a responsibility to teach kids right from wrong, in order to help prepare them for the real world.

Not only is the administration at fault when failing to enforce and educate students, but the community is as well. There are many vape shops in our area who fail to ID underage kids when purchasing paraphernalia. They, too, are allowing and enabling minors to start bad habits that could hinder their future.

Lastly, students are also liable when addressing who’s at fault. Students actively choose to disobey school rule and state law. Students need to encourage each other to abide by the rules set in place. Encouragement from one another could possible help solve the issue more than any other form of awareness.

Kids are learning that they can get away with disobeying school code and laws. The administration, community and student body  is enabling students to develop a dependence on nicotine that can greatly effect their behavioral patterns in future years to come. If we all take further action to address the situation, the problem may greatly diminish.

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