MHHS takes action against teen vaping


Photo by Joseph Kamandy

Vaping is a dangerous scourge that severely harms the health of teens.

Story by Linh Truong, Staff Writer

   The number of vapers worldwide has evolved from 7 million in 2011 to 41 million in 2018. With this amount of traffic–not to mention the fact individuals in the U.S., U.K., and France spent $10 billion on smokeless tobacco and vaping products in one year– the industry’s worth is now $19.3 billion compared to when it was just $6.9 billion five years ago. 

   Out of the 41 million vapers, 10% are teenagers. That’s 4.1 million teens who vape. 

   “I think a lot of teens gravitate toward vaping because they’re ill-informed; they think that it’s not smoking, and it’s actually better than smoking because they’re not inhaling smoke. Some of the products also have flavors, so it’s more appealing to them,” Kai Sengchanthalangsy (12) said. 

   Sengchanthalangsy isn’t wrong. As stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 66% of teens who vape claim that their e-cigarettes contain flavoring products. Meanwhile, some of these e-juice flavors can serve as irritants to inflame a person’s air passage. As specified by CNN, there have been 1,604 lung injury cases related to e-cigarettes in the U.S. as of Oct. 22, 2019. 36 of these individuals have passed away with the oldest being 75 and the youngest being merely 17 years old. 

   “Bottom line: I live here. I have a son, and he’s ten years old, so I really look at each kid on campus as if they were my own child and give them the support and the skills necessary to be the best they can be,” said Mrs. Baker, a MHHS counselor. 

   She further claims that teens use vaping as a coping mechanism with life stressors, and hopes that the school can help combat those issues so students won’t make unhealthy choices. She believes her job isn’t to judge or punish students who get caught but to offer them support. She encourages students who need help or whose friends need help to seek it from the adults that they trust on campus. If this isn’t an option, they’re always welcome to walk into the Counseling Office or email one of the school’s counselors. 

     Peer pressure is another reason why teens vape, and many teens deliberately choose not to report their friends’ unhealthy behavior due to fear of snitching. 

     “We want to discourage any participation with vaping, and if someone is being peer pressured, we want to resolve that peer pressure and get to the bottom of why they feel like it’s necessary to vape,” said Benji Mosco, a senior PLUS leader.   

   PLUS is a student organization focused on identifying and finding solutions to issues on campus.

   “It’s our main thing to include other students and make sure they live their lives positively. Once they’re at that legal age, that’s out of our control. But if we can postpone that and help them see that this isn’t the healthy thing to do right now or ever, then that’s what we’re here for,” said Diego Guillen (12), another PLUS leader.

   That being said, some students don’t feel connected to MHHS. Yet, with the increase in vaping and vaping-related injuries as well as deaths, it’s important to realize that there are many support systems on campus, and it’s up to students to take advantage of them.