Clinton Inn Hosts Vaping Lecture


Sophia Dongaris, Staff Writer

As high school students, most of us know what juuls and other vaping devices are. But to the adult world of Tenafly, they are a mystery. Timothy Shoemaker, a public speaker, came to the Clinton Inn on March 20th to educate adults about the new devices and the dangers of vaping. During the lecture, he covered various topics ranging from causes of vaping to statistics and the evolution from cigarettes to vaping devices.

Shoemaker started off talking about the evolution of cigarettes to the vaping devices such as juuls and dab pens. He explained how some cigarette companies had lost a lot of money in the mid-’90s—due to increased awareness of the dangers of smoking—and how they made a new, “healthier” type of cigarette to gain back all the lost money. He then related those times to what is occurring now with juuls and other vaping devices. Shoemaker explained how vaping companies have advertised their products as “healthier” than cigarettes. That may be true, but only for former cigarette smokers.

Many high schoolers have started the bad habit of vaping and have become addicted. Vaping was meant to be used by former cigarette smokers as a way to quit smoking completely, but instead, it’s being used by youths and is causing some bad habits. It has become a routine for teenagers to use their devices in the school bathrooms to satisfy their addiction. They use the excuse “it’s not bad for you; it’s just water vapor,” which is completely untrue. While there may be water vapor, there are many harmful chemicals in these devices, which may include carcinogens.

Shoemaker explained that every drug that was popular years ago now has a synthetic version. Some devices are the juul (for nicotine), dab pen (THC oil/marijuana), 510 universal vape (marijuana), and JuJu (marijuana). There are also various disguises for these vaping devices, like coffee cups, inhalers, pens, markers, and car keys.

To all the vapers, you may like it when you “hit” your device, but there are also multiple problems for you too. Vaping can cause dehydration, dry eyes, and popcorn lung. In addition, think about this: after vapers use their device, where do they store it? In their pocket? Backpack? What if it falls out? Think about it. All the unsanitary places people store their devices and then they put them in their mouths, causing mouth sores and infections.

After Shoemaker’s lecture, an audience member asked, “What is the first response for kids caught with these devices?” Janet Gould, Tenafly High School’s Student Assistance Counselor, answered that first the student’s parents are called and the kid has to take a drug/alcohol test. If the test comes up positive, there are severe punishments including suspension. If negative they get detentions and counseling. 

Lastly, if vapers aren’t completely persuaded to stop vaping, look at the statistics. For starters, one Juul pod is equivalent to one pack of cigarettes in its nicotine content. And many users go through one pod a day. In addition, kids who try vaping are 12 times more likely to go on to smoke tobacco, which could lead to types of cancer. If that doesn’t scare you, about 74,000 drug-related overdoses were recorded in 2017 versus 9,000 in the 1990s.

Hopefully, with adults being better educated about vaping, it will help them to educate their kids about the dangers of this disturbing new trend.