Contributions were made to this story by Carter Horan and John Torosian.
Vaping is a growing trend for teens both globally and around the halls of Lake Forest High School. Beginning as a healthy alternative to cigarettes, the use of electronic cigarettes has evolved into a nicotine addiction for minors. If you’re a Lake Forest student, parent, or teacher, you most likely already know about this phenomenon. It has been all over the news and the talk of the town among concerned parents. LEAD, a substance abuse organization, has hosted numerous presentations informing the public on the new wave.
All in all, the “JUUL” and other vape devices are here to stay for recovering addicts and young fiends. Many questions are raised because of this. How do kids get a hold of JUULs, and how do they hide them from the prying eyes of teachers and parents effectively? What can be done to deter future addicts or even halt current users? In search of honest responses, TFS spoke with anonymous Lake Forest students regarding their experiences, stories, and personal perspective on the matter.
All quotes presented in this article are from anonymous Lake Forest High School students.
“My friend and I were walking towards Varsity Field for the homecoming football game when we saw a car packed with a group of kids. When I say packed there had to have been at least four or five people in the car. All I could see was the white light of the JUUL. I watched as each person took a hit and passed it onto the next person. I swear there were parents walking around the car and the group of kids didn’t even hesitate.”
“There was a time last year when I felt like I couldn’t live without it. Every day I would take a long route to school just so I could get my fix. The head-rush felt so good, and five minutes later, I wanted it again.”
“I just assumed that it was okay if everyone else was doing it.
“It’s really not that bad for you, I don’t understand why people freak out.”
“I’ve been doing it for years and I know I should stop but I don’t want to. It makes me feel good about myself when I’m at a party and everyone asks for it.”
“Yesterday I walked into a bathroom and a group of boys were doing it right in the open. I could’ve been a teacher and they all would’ve gotten suspended.”
“The point of the JUUL is for adults to recover from a prior cigarette addiction. But for some LF kids, it has turned themselves into cigarette addicts.”
“My friend is so hooked he doesn’t go anywhere without it. I mean this kid brought it on his spring break trip with his family.”
“I feel like a lot of people started doing it sophomore year and a lot of them have quit by the time they’re seniors.”
“I know middle schoolers that got busted for vaping. It’s ridiculous. Imagine smoking since you were 11 years old. Tons of vapes aren’t even approved by the FDA so who knows what this stuff will do to you 10, 20, 30 years from now.”
“Just about everyone I know has vaped at least a few times in their high school career, and I’ve lost more than a few friendships by not joining in.”
“Kids get caught all the time at school and still continue to do it.”
“I just think the scope of it is crazy. It isn’t strictly a junior and senior issue, everyone is doing it. The funny thing is that to kids it’s somewhat obvious when people are juuling – running out of the bathroom, etc. – but it seems like teachers/adults are more easily fooled.”
“I feel like it’ll be so easy to stop entirely, but then you do, and you want it again and are reminded of different reasons why you’d think you’re fine continuing on with the norm. So the quitting turns into a short break.”
“I don’t JUUL in school anymore, but if it’s at a party I won’t turn it down.”
“Everyone has always tried to fit in one way or another, and I feel as if this is the new “thing.” I feel like the majority of people use it just to not make themselves not look out of place.”
“I feel like it’s stupid because nobody genuinely knows the long term effects it will have on them.”
“JUUL and other vapes have shifted from a healthier alternative for chronic smokers to a quick way for bored minors to catch a buzz.”