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Eight teens were hospitalized in the summer of 2019 due to shortness of breath. The exact cause has not been determined yet, but they all had one thing in common: e-cigarettes.
Most teens are choosing JUUL rather than other e-cigarettes which has caused the company many lawsuits. The first action that was taken to counter this was to eliminate fruity flavor pods from convenience stores and restrict most of its sales to their online store. The decision was part of an attempt to put an end to teenage usage of e-cigarettes. Science teacher, Richard Ferro stated, “The fruity flavors are getting kids addicted at early ages, because of its appeasing sweet taste.” The only flavors left on the market are mint, menthol, Virginia tobacco, and classic tobacco, which are the original e-cigarette flavors.
It did not stop there, 18 states including Maryland have sought to limit the teen tobacco usage by raising the age of purchasing these products from 18 to 21. These adolescent ages are a critical period, because young adults are more susceptible to its effects as their brains are still developing. Also, delaying the age of allowance to purchase these tobacco products creates a less likelihood of them becoming addicted smokers. “I think that some students have friends who are 18 in high school, but not many of them have friends who are 21, so the chance of them being able to buy tobacco products now is much less than before,” Ferro stated.
The epidemic of vaping in schools has only increased and now hides in the student bathrooms, or even within the classrooms. Administrators are being confronted on how to discipline students with this new issue. When caught vaping, “students receive Saturday school and/or two days of in school suspension, they are then referred to the Health Department,” stated assistant principal, T. Curtis Bunting. The atmosphere around the school has also changed as custodians are now required to sit outside of the bathrooms to monitor any suspicious activity that could possibly be taking place.
Guidance is always welcoming to students who want to take initiative for themselves and to try and quit. Bunting also advises to see administration as they can refer you to the Health Department to get the information that you need.