Word Of The Year: “Vapes”


Ben Winters, Writer

The Oxford Dictionary isn’t blowing smoke when it says its 2014 word of the year is vape. In fact, the verb vape, meaning to inhale or exhale vapor produced by an electronic cigarette, has nothing to do with smoke at all.

The vape, originally created as a healthier substitute to smoking, allows its users to experience the same amount of nicotine as a traditional cigarette without the adverse effects of harmful smoke. Madison, Alabama’s local Electronic cigarette supply store Vape On! disclaims that “Electronic cigarettes are not a smoking cessation program… However if you want to quit smoking they can be very helpful in doing so.” In a survey taken by the Center for Disease Control in 2013, 12% of high school students had tried vapes at least once. This has increased the marketing of vapes to youth, which many find similar to 1950s cigarette advertising. Companies pander to youths with a variety of sweet, sour, and coffee flavored vapors.

“I see the latest vape craze much like the energy drink craze of the last decade,” says Nurse Nancy Bocchino of Bob Jones High school. “Teenagers need to become wise and responsible consumers that know what they are ingesting.”

While the vapors being inhaled are tar-free, they are not by any means harmless. As of today, scientists struggle to definitively agree on the affects of vapes without sufficient long-term studies. People arguing for vapes, haling their reduction in tobacco related illnesses, and against, calling them the next teenage drug addiction, have little evidence to support either theory. Although nicotine has a harmful effect on adolescent brain development, vapes can be purchased with little to no nicotine what so ever. Additionally, a study done by the Japanese National Institute of Public Health has found alarming amounts of formaldehyde, about ten times higher than the traditional cigarette, in vapes.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration is working on legislation that will ban the sale of vapes to anyone under the age of eighteen. That hasn’t stopped Vapes from being easily available online from a number of distributors.

Jason Sims, Student Resource Officer at Bob Jones states, “The scariest thing is the ability vapes have to be easily concealed from the classroom. Teenagers need to be aware that the possession of vapes on school property is an Alabama State offence.”