Vape-clouded judgement?

Students speak up about vaping, reveal varied opinions

“Well, I think that they are inconsiderate of their future health and it’s only a matter of time before more scientific effects are released, causing them to regret their decision,” warned a junior, speaking about the vaping activities of fellow Warriors.

Yes, even kids at Walsh Jesuit vape.

In fact, students at many high schools vape today. Science News for Students states, “Today, almost twice as many high school kids vape as smoke, [a] new study finds. Middle-school students have an even stronger preference for vaping over smoking.”

However, WJ students expressed a wide range of reasons for not vaping. One junior stated, “I am an athlete, so lungs are important to me. My grandpa, he struggles with respiratory and lung disease from working in a factory to support his family, and he never smoked or vaped. It bothers me that they’re wasting their lives, their God-given precious lives.”

A junior student who vapes said he started juuling because “I like mangos,” a reference to the flavored “pods” available for some e-cigarettes. Another student admitted that he uses it every day. Asked if they feel an urge to vape, both simply responded, “Yes.” Some students who are dependent on juuls use them everywhere.

Weighing in on the e-cigarette issue, school counselor Mr. Mike Gladstone said, “It’s dangerous and more and more students seem to be involved in it.” He thinks a third of the student body vapes. “It’s obviously not good for your health, and anytime you put something unhealthy in your body, it will affect you.”

Another counselor, Mrs. Megan Bruno, agreed that there are a “surprisingly large number” of students who vape at Walsh. Staff member Mr. Matt Long expressed his strong opposition to vaping at WJ. “I think it’s dumb. I don’t get why people think it’s so cool. Even Leo DiCaprio at the Oscars can’t make it look cool, and he’s one of the coolest people.”

Many students share the opinions expressed by the adults. One observed, “Vaping is silly. There are plenty of other things you could be doing with your life instead of wasting it. Maybe you have the e-liquid type or the one with nicotine. Either way those chemicals aren’t good for your body, nor is the smoke exhaled, which is full of the chemicals for others to breath in.”

On the other hand, a sophomore male student who vapes does it for popularity. “It’s a waste of my money, and I only did it ’cause I thought it was cool. I will occasionally still use it, but I really only use it when I’m with friends.” Another acknowledged, “I tried a friend’s and decided it was cool. My parents don’t know, but some friends know. I use it very little.”

It’s a waste of my money, and I only did it ‘cause I thought it was cool. ”

— Anonymous sophomore

When asked if it bothers them that it is illegal to own a device under 18 years of age, one of the above students responded, “It doesn’t bother me at all. Why would it?” His friend agreed. In fact, not one student who vapes was bothered by the fact that minors are prohibited from buying electronic products or that their use can have negative consequences.

Even though students defend their vaping habit, senior Anna Kropf expressed irritation toward underclassmen who vape. She stated, “The amount of underaged students that ‘fiend’ for juuls/vapes is disconcerting. They followed a trend and now turn to upperclassmen of age to support their addiction. It’s repulsive. I will NEVER support the underclassmen ‘fiending’ for a trend.”

Recently there has been an upward trend in teen vaping, especially in high schools. Of 442 WJ students who responded to a Survey Monkey poll conducted by The Pioneer, 42 percent believe that vaping at school has increased in the past year. The Pioneer survey was admittedly informal and limited in scope. However, because respondents were guaranteed anonymity, the results may give some insight into students who vape and perceptions about those who do. The survey was compared to the results of the WJ Health and Wellness survey of February, 2017, which polled the entire student body on a number of topics.

The Pioneer survey results show that 42 percent of the student body vaped at least once, while the Wellness survey indicated that only 11 percent admitted to vaping at least once. Students believe juniors vape the most, at 34.9 percent, according to The Pioneer survey.  While the Health and Wellness poll also revealed juniors vape the most, only 17 percent of them admitted doing so. The Pioneer survey also found that 77 percent of students believe their friends and other students vape. However, only 42 percent, in the same poll, admitted that they have vaped at least once. This indicates that students believe significantly more of their classmates vape than what is actually admitted.









Varying opinions and facts about electronic cigarettes, both for and against, can be found, depending on the source. Regardless of whose views one accepts, it’s important to remember that state law prohibits minors from buying electronic cigarette products and that their use may have negative impacts on the health of users and others.