Views on smoking have immensely transitioned from decade to decade as new information has come out, health effects have been revealed, and life spans have been progressively cut short. Currently, in America, we are going through this cycle yet again with E-cigarettes, better known as vapes or Juuls.
Within the last five to ten years, E-cigarettes have become increasingly popularized amongst teenagers, as they were at first portrayed as “better for you,” and “more fun and cool” than regular old-fashioned cigarettes. According to a study done by the CDC in 2019, 27.5% of all high schoolers in America have vaped at least once, and some are turning it into a habit. Because there is no hard proof of the long-term effects that E-cigarettes have on the human body, teens especially think it’s okay and even the “cool thing to do” to vape. What they don’t know is that E-cigarettes, although different from traditional cigarettes, have the same amount, and in some cases more nicotine than regular cigarettes.
Desire is a sensation that we all feel at one time or another in our lifetime. Whatever the desire, it can be classified as a craving, and restricting that craving causes it to be so much more desirable. This is true for many things including smoking and vaping in schools. Imagine your favorite food. That sweet, rich chocolate, or that cheesy, hot slice of pizza. Now imagine that food was taken away from you for a year. That time away just made the heart grow fonder and made the craving for that food so much more intense. The same idea applies to banishing anything, smoking in particular. The more something is withheld, the more curiosity around it grows. So, when schools ban smoking, it causes students to feel like it is fun to defy that regulation and become a rebel by doing so.
Bans provide the much-needed crackdown on students in a way that seems to make them listen when there is a rule set in place. Having a ban on smoking provides a safe and exemplary environment for students to thrive and flourish in. The peer pressure surrounding smoking is bad enough outside the school walls and causes teens enough stress that another factor of peer pressure in the form of smoking in schools is not needed. Schools need to practice what they preach in terms of health and wellness in all aspects of life. It is common knowledge that smoking is bad for your short and specifically long-term health, so schools promoting something that a class demotes would be contradictory. School is many kids’ safe place, and it needs to continue to be that way. Allowing smoking in schools would interfere with many teens’ sense of safety and belonging overall.
Cigarettes and E-cigarettes are never healthy or smart to get involved with. We know all the facts concerning cigarettes, but the unknown with E-cigarettes are what cause teenagers to begin a habit that will change their life. Now there is the argument of whether to ban or not to ban in schools, yet another dilemma similar to when the risks of cigarettes were exposed, and lifestyles were forever changed.