Vaping: The effects on your mind and body


Maryann Ress

A display of vaping products at a gas station, including JUUL vape pens.

By Maryann Ress, News Editor

Over the summer, the news was flushed with reports of people receiving treatment after reporting lung injuries related to vaping. On Aug. 23, the first death from vaping was reported.

Mr. Doll noticed the increased coverage and decided to bring up to his AP Psychology classes. He is aware of the increase in e-cigarette use among teenagers, and how his students may have friends who vape.

As of Nov. 5, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 2,051 cases of confirmed lung injuries associated with vaping. There have been 39 deaths, some of which have been Illinois residents.

Though the majority of cases stem from people using vape pens containing THC, the CDC recommends the ceasing of smoking all vaping products, including ones containing nicotine in addition to THC.

Despite the rise in reports of injuries and deaths related to vaping, some people have cited difficulty in quitting the tobacco product.

Due to an addiction to nicotine, one Lane senior continues to vape even though they are aware of the potential risks.

“I am addicted and putting in the effort to quit is not worth the slight possibility of me dying from it. Plus, I have been doing it for three years and I am fine so far,” the senior said.

The senior has found that their need for nicotine has spread into their daily routine.

 “I make sure to have some nicotine every day. If I do not, I am constantly looking for it,” the senior said.

Mr. Doll explained how nicotine can be more than just physically addicting.

“It is psychologically addicting because a lot of students build social groups that involve vaping,” Doll said.

Doll explained how vape pens have been falsely advertised to the public. 

“Vaping was the ‘healthier’ alternative, and it was advertised that you won’t get the unhealthy carcinogens from smoking a regular cigarette,” Doll said. “Although, everyone would agree that you are taxing your lungs by vaping still because you are putting the same unhealthy stuff in your lungs, and your lungs still feel the need to filter like they do when you smoke a regular cigarette.”

Ms. Salgado, Lane’s nurse, explained the similarity of the effects of vaping and cigarette smoking on the body.

“Vaping is not any better. It looks nicer and there is no odor to it, but it is not any better. It still contains the same amount, if not more, nicotine in it,” Salgado said. 

Salgado explained the new type of cough that has emerged from vaping, which was once a symptom only common with cigarette smokers.

“There is a smoker’s cough, from people who have smoked for a long time. It is not a cough that comes from being sick, it comes from the mucus and tar in their throat that they want to cough up,” Salgado said. “Now there is something called a vaper’s cough, which are the same symptoms, but it is from vaping.”

According to the CDC, 14% of the reported injuries are patients under 18 years old.

The Lane senior has vaped continually for three years.

“I started because my friends all did it. I was 14, but almost 15,” said the senior. 

The senior has noticed side effects on their body since they have started vaping.

“Sometimes it is difficult to breathe if I am doing physical activity. My throat feels tight but never in my chest though. It hurts always where the nicotine hits my throat,” the senior said.

Ania Pupa, Div. 074, began to vape her junior year but has quit as of her senior year.

“I stopped because it was not worth it and it was expensive. Also, my throat was hurting when I vaped,” Pupa said. “I am scared of getting lung problems in the future. I am happy, though, that I stopped now than later.”

According to Doll, an effect called cognitive dissonance could explain why some teenagers who have become addicted to vaping choose to disregard the new reports of injuries and deaths.

Cognitive dissonance occurs when there is a difference in a person’s beliefs and actions. Unless they change either their beliefs or actions, they experience discomfort.

Doll explained how students relieve themselves of cognitive dissonance, by changing their beliefs to match their actions. For students who vape, they convince themselves that the science is not settled on it. Therefore, they believe they should not stop vaping.

The senior considers their decision to start vaping as a 14-year-old as a bad decision now.

“I would definitely say most teenagers who do it now wish that they had not and would most likely advise others to not start,” the anonymous senior said. “I 100% wish I had never started.”