Drop the vape: There are other ways to blow off steam

Gwen Henry | Cartoonist

By The Editorial Board

The year is 2018. You’re in high school, using your passing period to hit your friend’s mango-flavored vape in the school bathroom, eagerly awaiting the release of a new Post Malone album and hoping a teacher doesn’t come in.

Sorry to make this memory go up in smoke, but it isn’t 2018 anymore. It’s 2024, and it’s time to quit vaping.

Two of the biggest reasons to drop your vape in a cup of water are the financial strain and the health consequences associated with vaping.

One disposable vape can cost anywhere from $5 to $15 on average. Most vape companies advertise their typical “5,000-puff” disposable vape to last around two to three weeks. This means the average user will spend nearly $30 a month on vapes, depending on the type and frequency of use.

In a year, that’s about $360. Wouldn’t you like to spend that money on something else? You could have bought yourself a burger-and-fries dinner from the grease pit, and it would have been cheaper and healthier than vaping.

If you vape consistently through all four years of college, you may spend nearly $1,500 or more on a nicotine addiction, when you could have put that money toward tuition, gas for your car or anything else that would bring you true joy and satisfaction. Instead, that money is gone as fast as you can exhale.

Vaping is not only leeching off of your wallet but also negatively impacting your health, whether or not you’re part of the one in five Americans who believe it isn’t. Although it’s true that vapes generally contain fewer chemicals than traditional cigarettes, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t putting yourself at risk of lung cancer, exposing yourself to formaldehyde (the chemical funeral homes use to preserve the deceased) and becoming more likely to develop heart disease.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, more than 2 million youth currently vape, including college students. Our age group is in a targeted and vulnerable position when it comes to these products, because, before you’re 25 years old, your frontal lobe is not fully developed, meaning your decision-making skills can be pretty poor. You probably acknowledged that when you felt nervous about picking your college major, so why not acknowledge it now?

By February 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported almost 3,000 vaping-related hospitalizations, including 68 deaths. You may not think this means much for you, but the numbers don’t lie.

Unfortunately, there is very little research on the long-term effects of continued vape use, because vapes only entered the American marketplace in 2007. There have been fewer than 20 years of vape usage in America.

Compare that to cigarettes, which began mass production in 1843. Certainly, there were no anti-tobacco campaigns during the Civil War or while soldiers fought in the trenches of World War I, and tobacco use raged on through the 1960s before it finally began to steadily drop in the 1970s. It took more than a century to get people to stop smoking, and our grandparents and those before them learned its adverse effects the hard way.

We shouldn’t have to.

Because vaping is often used as stress relief, other activities like exercise, a new hobby or talk therapy can prove to be more effective — and safe — methods of decompression. Baylor offers a multitude of recovery resources as well, such as the Beauchamp Addiction Recovery Center and the Counseling Center, and the McLane Student Life Center is an exercise space that is welcome to all Baylor students looking to blow off some steam.

Many vape users will say, “I’m not addicted, and I can quit at any time.” The truth is that they may be addicted. However, they’re not entirely wrong — with the right resources and support, any day can be the day to quit vaping.