Why is Vaping So Popular?


Mike Mevkalo, Editor

1 of every 5 high school students are known to vape according to Ms. Valdez, the Grover Cleveland High School’s substance abuse counselor. Vaping itself is a 20 billion dollar industry that gets a large amount of its money from students across the U.S. and Grover Cleveland High School is no exception to this latest craze. A lot of adults and even a good amount of students are starting to ask questions about the dangers, impacts and reasons for why. It would be nearly impossible to try and tackle all the vape-related questions at the same time so instead, let’s get to the root, why do kids vape?

There are many reasons why kids begin vaping. Many companies advertise in a way that appeals to kids, such as promoting fun flavors and making vapes seem healthier than cigarettes. Advertising is key to a growing industry or company; it doesn’t matter how good the product is if no one knows about it. Unfortunately, vaping is so big that vaping companies do not have to advertise as much as they used to. During the time period when they did, it was unlawful in the way that they would target minors knowing that minors did not have the right to use their products. In 2019, there was a lawsuit against vaping and e-cigarette companies, such as JUUL, for marketing to teenagers. Since then, these companies have taken steps, in accordance with the lawsuit, to stop minors from buying their products. The greatest effort being the pull of most flavors including mint, fruit, mango, tobacco and more.

Aside from business marketing, many kids experience peer pressure which would lead them to try vaping. Curiosity and just the thought of “how would vaping feel” or “I wonder what could happen” are all things that can get someone to start. Vaping has become so popular that it’s now considered a social activity, like smoking. In social settings, it has become a big source of peer pressure because students who vape have a need to try and get others to do it with them. Our IDDC Counselor, Mr. Vega, says the best way to avoid peer pressure is to “know who you truly are and know who your true friends are.”

Lastly and most importantly, vaping has been used as a way to cope. According to the truth initiative “81% of those who had used e-cigarettes said they started vaping to decrease stress, anxiety, or depression, according to an August 2021 survey of 1,000 people between ages 15 and 24.  But the truth is that although nicotine may feel like a stress reliever because of the hormones it produces in your body, it wears off after a few hours because it’s only temporary.  Kids might fall into the trap of needing to continue to vape to get that same feeling and that’s when those cravings can turn into nicotine dependence.  Eventually, when you don’t have that nicotine in your body, the withdrawal symptoms you might face include irritation, restlessness, trouble concentrating, anxiety, stress, and depression. An anonymous student from GCHS shared that “vaping can lead to nausea, emptiness, and depression. Take it personally from me as I used to do it all the time. You don’t wanna be in my shoes being depressed. I felt like I needed a hit every 10 seconds. People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

If you need help stopping, you can text “DITCHVAPE” to 88709 or to speak directly with a volunteer crisis counselor text “HOME” to 741741.  Don’t be afraid to get help when you need it because every breath you take matters.