Deaths linked to vaping rise into the double digits in the United States

Alexa Davis

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Alexa Davis

Ms. Smithmeyer’s sixth grade class receives a speech on the negative effects of vaping on Oct. 21, 2019.

Many e-cigarette users have awoken to the reality of how dangerous vaping really is, after September 2019, when Juul and vape related deaths in the United States rose into the double digits. Small, sleek, and easy-to-hide, Juuls is a brand of e-cigarette. Every Juul pod contains an equivalent amount of nicotine as a whole pack of cigarettes. 

Vaping is a type of smoking, where instead of inhaling tobacco, like normal cigarettes, you inhale aerosol, or vapor. The vape heats up the pod and releases the vapor. Juuls and other kinds of vaping devices are dangerous. Juuls became popular at the end of 2017 and sales skyrocketed in 2018. Juul-related illnesses were not heard of until recently because Juuls were released in 2015, so the effects of vaping was unknown because the product was so new. 

According to The Washington Post, officials have reported around 1,080 injuries and 18 deaths related to e-cigarette use. By Oct. 15, there have been 26 deaths and about 1,300 lung illnesses counted and as of Oct. 29, there have been 34 deaths and an additional 300 injuries.  No one knows exactly what is causing these deaths, but it is known the deaths are linked to vaping. The illness could be caused by one chemical or multiple chemicals, but the extent of the effects of the substances in Juuls is unknown. 

Officer Tom Liberty, Freedom Area School District Resource Officer, said a substance called formaldehyde is contained in a Juul pod. Formaldehyde is used to embalm dead bodies and it can cause cancer in the upper part of the throat, behind the nose. Formaldehyde can cause asthma attacks and wheezing, too. Acrolein is another chemical in a Juul pod, which is a main ingredient in weed killers. Liberty says people who vape and Juul need to be aware of what is in the product. 

In Freedom Area School District, during the 2018-2019 school year, there were 17 issues with students caught vaping. Two of those cases were in middle school. Vapes and e-cigarettes are a problem with the youth. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), over 3.6 million high school students vaped in 2018, which rose from 20 percent of high schoolers who vaped in 2017 to 27.7 percent in 2018. This is a very alarming increase, due to the fact that vaping devices are illegal to people under the age of 18. Many kids buy Juuls and e-cigarettes online or have older friends or relatives over the age of 18 sell them vapes. 

Liberty stated that at first, people thought Juuls and other vaping devices were an alternative, less harmful way to smoke without smelling cigarette smoke, but studies are now coming out that people are suffering serious medical problems from this.