Column: Tobacco on rise; awareness should be, too


Faithlyn Leveillee

Smoking Awareness editorial cartoon.

Faithlyn Leveillee, Opinion Editor

Tobacco has controlled the lives of millions for more than 500 years, including numerous teens around the world. Though the rising usage of juul and vaping is a new and upcoming epidemic, the rise of tobacco products used by teens must not be overlooked.

Studies show that due to the high amounts of nicotine found within vapes and juuls, they have become a gateway to tobacco products for teens. This increases teens’ chances for serious medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and many others.

Schools and news articles, as well as lectures from parents, have helped in decreasing the number of smokers within students. However, since the manufacturing of vapes and juuls, the percentage has begun to rise.

In 1997, the number of teen smokers was approximately 25% of high school students and the number drastically decreased in 2018, when the number dropped to almost 5%. However, in the last year, the percentage has already increased to approximately 5.8%.

5.8%, on its own, is not a very large number, but when you consider how many students make up .8% of a population, the number is suddenly much larger. This is an approximately 600 thousand student increase.

While social media and news has brought our attention to focus closely on the rise of vaping, tobacco products continue to climb into the daily routines of students and this progression cannot be ignored.

Schools across the country have been focusing their concerns on vaping, having numerous assemblies and informationals for that cause when they should be integrating their lessons of vaping with their lessons of tobacco. Though the  two are widely different, their risks are equally damaging and need to be equally stressed in awareness.