The Truth About Vapes


Through the annual National Youth Tobacco Survey in 2022 the FDA discovered that over 2.5 million teens vape. The survey also gathered that many teens vape on a regular basis and most choose to use flavored cartridges. 

Even with the countless studies proving how toxic e-cigarettes (vapes) are to the mind, tricking people into thinking they can’t live without them the numbers of teen users has almost doubled over the last five years

“So what I don’t think they [students] understand is the chemicals that they’re taking in are the same chemicals in a regular cigarette without the smoke or differences,” assistant principal Brad Hoeksema said. “But they’re still consuming that.”

Nicotine is as or even more addictive than cocaine and heroin, according to a study conducted by the University of California San Francisco. Teens using nicotine may have a lasting effect on attention, learning, and memory that promote addiction to nicotine.

“Most teenagers are in the period known as adolescence, a critical time of mental and physical development that transitions teens into adults,”  junior health student Brooke Rebstock said. “A teenager’s brain releases more dopamine than adults, causing teens to be much more sensitive to nicotine’s positive effects.” 

An average JUUL (type of e-cigarette) contains more nicotine than a pack of 20 cigarettes alone. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, immediately after exposure to nicotine the drug’s stimulation causes adrenaline to discharge causing blood pressure and heart rate to increase as the reward pathways in the brain trick the mind into feelings of pleasure.

“Since teenagers are more easily addicted and reliant on nicotine, it makes quitting nicotine much harder,” Rebstock said. “This is why most adult nicotine users began use before the age of 20. Additionally, nicotine affects brain development and can cause impaired learning and memory at a premature age.”

The Consequences

In the state of Texas, you must be at least 21 years old to purchase an e-cigarette. Minors who violate this law could be punished with a fine up to $250, participate in a tobacco awareness program, and/or community service.

According to the Canyon High administrators they have confiscated over 20 vapes this year alone, about one vape per week. Each time Hoeksema, and the other school’s administrators, ask the students if they would smoke a regular cigarette? With a common response being ‘no, that’s disgusting’.

Usually I ask the teen ‘Do your parents know that you vape

— Assistant Principal, Brad Hoeksema

“Usually I ask the teen ‘Do your parents know that you vape,’” Hoeksema said. “Some will say yes, some will say no. Therefore you get all kinds of different reactions.”

Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) is an alternative education program for students who violate Canyon ISD’s Student Handbook or other activities deemed inappropriate on school grounds.

“If you get caught in possession of a vape or with a vape. You’re looking at three days of ISS,” Hoeksema said. “The second consequence is DAEP time, and we’ve had kids that have been sent to DAEP because it happens multiple times.”

Everybody thinks that it won’t happen to them, that they won’t be the one that gets critically impacted forever for the rest of their lives. It is a common misconception, because anybody can have it happen to them if they participate in this dangerous act.

“It’s not good for you,” nurse Paige Tucker said. “So if you’re inhaling them, it’s going to have bad results or effects on your body. It has been proven that it’s short term, or even long term effects.”

So if you’re inhaling them, it’s going to have bad results or effects on your body. It has been proven that it’s short term, or even long term effects.

— Nurse, Paige Tucker

Studies even show that students claim vaping helps them cope with things like stress, and how they like the different flavors. The consequences are a real issue people tend to overlook. With this ongoing addiction, teens encounter life threatening situations, with nicotine intoxicating the bloodstream and other vital organ systems, killing many of its victims.

“You’ve seen people die from it,” Tucker said. “And you’ve seen people have lung issues, lung capacity issues, and oxygen issues from it.”

The Way Out

Today world wide there are hundreds of campaigns stressing the importance of not vaping. They share the dangers that it brings, and ways to stop vaping. The Real Cost Campaign offers both online and in-person chat rooms, information about nicotine replacements and withdrawals, and even more ways to keep the people safe from e-cigarettes.

Quitting Resources for Students