Chasing Clouds

The Vaping Epidemic

stock photo

stock photo

Lindsey Bell and Journalist

It seems to be everywhere.  In the news, on the internet, written about, talked about.  Vaping.  It has become a contagious sensation, especially among teens.  According to CNBC, more than one in four high school students in the U.S. use e-cigarettes.  That’s at least a quarter, or 25% of high school students.  Despite this shocking statistic, the topic of vaping is still quite controversial.  This is what Western Branch has to say about it.

When asked about vaping, many people had differing opinions.  Some people didn’t think much of it by saying that it’s “not that serious,” and they “don’t think it’s a big deal.”  Whereas others thought of it more negatively saying “it’s stupid” and they “wouldn’t encourage it.”  There are even people down the middle saying that they “appreciate [it] in certain uses.”  People are spread out all across the spectrum from being polar opposites to being right in the middle.

People also had differing opinions on why people vape.  Answers varied from “convenient” to cause they like the taste.  Others said that it helps them “deal with stress” and is “more concealable.”  However, the main answer is that “it’s cool,” and this aligns with many other studies.  According to, a 2012 to 2015 study conducted by lead study author John Ayers, a public health researcher at San Diego State University, showed that in 2015, 30 percent of tweets about vaping cited social image as the common reason.  This just shows the social pressure put upon teens to look “cool” and be “edgy.”

In addition to aligning to that study, Western Branch also aligns with the study stated above by CNBC.  All of the people interviewed knows someone who vapes, and five out of the eight people interviewed said they vape.  That is even higher than the study done by CNBC because five out of eight people is over half.

People start vaping for different reasons as well.  The most common one is because “a friend had one,” and out of the people interviewed, the majority of the people who said that they vaped started at age 14.

As to why people continue vaping is more of a mystery.  Some people said that “it’s a habit” and that they’re “addicted.”  Other people said they “still got problems [stress]” and because “I can.”  One person even said that “they don’t know.”

In conclusion, vaping is still a big issue in our country and among this generation.  It is a discussion that is not finished yet and won’t be for a while.  However, in the midst of these varying opinions, there is one thing that we can all agree on, and that is we have the freedom to do what we want to do.  Whether things are right or wrong, people are given the freedom to make their own decisions and choose what kind of life they want to live.  As said by Michael D., “I don’t care.  It depends on what you do.”