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Negative health effects of smoking and vaping

Part 1 of a multi-part series on teenage smoking and vaping

In the U.S. alone, more than 7 million people have died from smoking. Just this year alone, 1.3 million non-smokers have died from secondhand smoke. When it comes to smoking anything-tobacco, marijuana, or vapes-they all have the same effect on you. There are short and long-term effects of smoking that can do a good deal to someone’s health, but there are ways and resources to help quit smoking.

When using any smoking device, the short-term effects include experiencing respiratory conditions, increased phlegm, persistent cough, and possible cardiovascular conditions. Lungs are not meant for anything but oxygen to go in them, so when any type of smoke enters your body it breaks down alveoli, which are small air pockets in your lungs. It also draws more mucus in your lungs which could cause a collapsed lung. Click here to read more information from the Lung Cancer Center. 

The long-term effects of smoking relate to the short-term as well. Respiratory infections increase, but now you are in the danger zone for cancer, heart disease, lung disease, more prone to a stroke, COPD or Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and death. When smoking long term, nicotine specifically will make your veins and arteries narrow which can make the heart work a lot harder and make a heart give out earlier. Click here to read more in-depth information about the long-term effects. 

Addiction to smoking is not easy to get rid of. Most products contain an amount of nicotine that will allow your body to crave it more and more. 

Woodhaven’s Sociology and Psychology teacher talked about the psychological aspect of addiction. Mrs. Kucharski said, “When kids first start to smoke, their frontal lobe is not fully developed, which leads them to the mindset that they will not be affected by smoking.”

Kucharski went on to say that vaping is a stimulant, and that is why kids at school chase that high.

In a school setting, the rates of smoking both nicotine and marijuana have increased almost double from 2018-2023 just at Woodhaven High School alone, that includes 10-12th grade. Multiple reports have been made to the office by students and even parents who have called the school about the smell of marijuana and kids getting smoke in their faces while trying to go to the bathroom. Secondhand smoke is present in the bathrooms when students want to self-medicate, which can lead to kids who have asthma or other respiratory diseases possibly getting worse. While talking to Woodhaven High School’s Police Officer, Officer Nowak stated, “I’ve seized around 20 vape devices with 25% of them being THC pens and have only had one incident of seizing actual marijuana off of a student.”

There are plenty of resources where you can get help for addiction. You or loved ones can call 1-800-662-4357 which is SAMHSA National Hotline or you can click here to visit SAMHSA’s website. It is better to stop addiction now than to continue. 




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