The Dangerous Trend


Hutton Hegbloom and Matthew Wirtz

The armed school guard, Mr Hatcher, casually dumps out almost thirty confiscated vapes onto a table. This is just after a couple weeks of taking them from students around Lakeland High School.

Vaping has recently reached a high at the high school level. How is it affecting students? 

Jimmy Hoffman, Vice-Principal at Lakeland High School, has some strong thoughts about how vaping affects students. “I think it is a very unfair chemical that companies are getting extremely rich off. They’re influencing young kids and getting them addicted to nicotine.”

It also affects the health of vapers. When you vape, you put nicotine in your body. Nicotine is an extremely addictive drug. It causes slow brain development in teens, affects memory, concentration, learning, and self control. Unfortunately, many teens are getting addicted to it. 

“We are seeing the highest levels of nicotine in kids’ bodies then we ever have.”

John Hatcher, the school guard, sees and knows the effects of vaping. “It affects students and it creates a craving for nicotine. While they are at school, the student is not thinking about learning, but when they can hit their vape next.”

Athletes are affected by vaping. It affects the way athletes play in a negative way. According to the Athletic Director for Lakeland, Mike Divilbiss, “if your habits are to do something self-destructive such as vaping, then you can’t come to me and tell me you’re ready to play in games every week.

Athletes are also affected by drug testing. Athletes have to undergo randomized testing multiple times per season. Divilbiss is a strong advocate for them. “I think the drug tests are effective in season. However, I think that some of the weaker kids go back during the off season and it’s sad.”

The first time a underage person is caught vaping, they get a fine of $74. If a person distributes it, it can go up to $300. After the second and third time, the student will have to attend a tobacco education class and appear in court in front of a judge.

Students were also asked questions about vaping. Many were asked, but only a few agreed to get interviewed. The students interviewed will remain anonymous.

One student who vapes says they got into it by friends. “My friends started vaping and I started to vape with them. Ever since then I’ve started vaping.” They also said, “I haven’t tried to quit yet, but maybe sometime soon.”

Another student says that their older sibling started it and got them into it. “My sibling started to vape and I saw them doing it. I asked to try and they let me.”

Regardless of how they started vaping, they all know some of the dangers of it. One student stated, “I know they say it’s bad for you, but I can do what I want with it. It’s my life.”

One student, who doesn’t vape, thinks it has had negative effects on students throughout the school. “I think vaping hurts the student population by getting some of them addicted to nicotine. I think we need to reach out to students who vape and try to get them to quit.”