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  • Writer's pictureALEX HAAS '21

The Dangers of Vaping

On January 27, 2019, William Brown sat in his car outside a Texas vape store, and started using his vape pen. Suddenly, his vape pen exploded, sending pieces of metal into his face and neck. Brown was able to get out of his car, but soon collapsed due to his injuries. He was found by the store manager who called 911 after seeing Brown struggle in the parking lot.

Brown was sent to a hospital, but died two days after the incident due to a stroke caused by severe trauma to the neck. It was just two weeks before his 25th birthday. “He was a real sweet kid,” said Steve Brown, William’s father, to The Washington Post. According to Steve Brown, he and his son were very close; they worked together as electricians and talked almost every day. The death of William Brown was a terrible tragedy, and while family and friends are mourning their loss, they also want to bring awareness to the dangers of vape pens.

Unfortunately, this is not the only death caused by vape pens. Just last May, a man in Florida was killed after his vape pen exploded. Pieces from the explosion went into his head, and a small fire started in his home. The cause of death was ruled as an injury to the head.

Although there have been 195 reports of vape pens exploding between the years 2009 and 2016, no deaths were recorded during that time span. However, it did result in 133 injuries, including 38 that were severe. The cause of these incidents is not certain, yet is seems to be corresponded to the lithium-ion batteries inside the vape pens. Frankly, the explosions are a rare occurrence, but they do happen, and when they happen, serious injuries or death tend to follow.

In addition to injuries caused by vaping, it is not particularly good for a person’s health. Although vape pens may potentially help adults quit smoking, it has done the opposite for teens. Teens vaping increases their chances of smoking cigarettes later on in life. A single JUUL pod contains 40 mg of nicotine, which is similar to the amount of nicotine in an entire pack of cigarettes. Studies have shown that nicotine can interfere with the growth of teens’ brains, hindering memory and attention processing, as the brain is not fully grown until the age of 25.

Recently, the Surgeon General Jerome Adams gave a rare warning from his office in Washington: “I am officially declaring e-cigarette use [vaping] among youth an epidemic in the United States,” he said. Vaping as a teen has become a trend, and many teenagers believe it to be harmless.

Vaping is not good for a teen’s developing brain and it can cause a young person to become addicted to cigarettes later on in life. Although vaping has become common and popular, the risks far outweigh any possible benefits. Teenagers should avoid vaping and in any event be extremely cautious if they choose to use vape pens since they could, quite literally, blow up in their faces.

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