Vaping, Tobacco & THC


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The earlier in brain development, the easier it is for vaping products to stunt and affect brain development.

Christine Cannal, Staff Reporter

Being a teenager is all about risk-taking and discovering new things; however, teenagers in this day and age don’t understand exactly how much of their health they’re risking. Whether it’s peer pressure, impulsive behavior, or the want for ease, teenagers should know what truly awful things vaping, tobacco and marijuana does do to the mind and body.


Most people know that an electronic cigarette or e-cigarette is a handheld battery-powered vaporizer that simulates smoking and provides some of the behavioral aspects of smoking without burning tobacco. It uses “juice” that heats up and creates vapor. Using an e-cigarette is known as “vaping”.  It can come in a variety of flavors, such as mint, vanilla, raspberry, strawberry-banana, and cinnamon.


Tobacco cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive drug. They contain tar, that’s used for paving roads,  lead, that’s used in batteries and arsenic, that’s used in rat poison. 


Marijuana is made from a plant called cannabis and is the shredded leaves, stem, flowers, and buds. It comes in many names such as pot, kush, dope, and hash. Marijuana is often referred to as THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, a crystalline compound that is the main active ingredient of cannabis.


All three of these substances can be smoked multiple ways, and marijuana can be vaped as well as nicotine.


How it can affect school and home life

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, teens are more likely to use e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes. However, 30.7% of teen vapers are likely to start smoking tobacco within 6 months, compared to 8.1% of non-users.


 Smoking, vaping, and THC use could be deadly for young people. Smoking as a teen can cause early heart disease, poor oral health, reduced physical fitness, and poor skin. The young mind is still developing and becoming mature, and the part of the brain that affects responsibility and impulse control is not yet developed, so a teen brain is more likely to fall prey to it. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in  2017 38% of high school students have said to have used marijuana in their life. Frequent and long term use of marijuana has been linked to school dropout and lower academic achievement. How smoking affects your body


How they affect your body

As appealing as they may seem, e-cigarettes contain nicotine and toxins like traditional cigarettes do, which can be as addictive as heroin and cocaine. When you expose your body to nicotine it raises your blood pressure and increases your heart rate and the chances of you having a heart attack. Inhaling foreign substances into your lungs could cause your airways to become irritated and blocked. Your damaged lungs prevent oxygen from getting to your blood, and could later develop respiratory infections and certain cancers. 


“Teens are clearly attracted to the marketable technology and flavorings seen in vaping devices. However, it is urgent that teens understand the possible effects of vaping on overall health, the development of the teen brain, and the potential for addiction” says  Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.


Tobacco contains over 4,000 chemicals, many of which are known to cause cancers. It damages the elastin in the skin, causing wrinkles and sagging. Your oral health is also affected by smoking tobacco. Gum disease, tooth loss, bad breath, and throat infections are just some of the preventable side effects of smoking. It stains the skin on your hands, feet, and nails. In addition to withering away at your body, tobacco also has a putrid odor that is left behind on your hair, breath, clothes, and inside your house and car. Teens are 


According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, a man is east Alabama died in the state’s first reported vaping-related death. The Center for Disease Control is investigating over 805 cases of lung injury in the US. As of October  2019, there are 19 Alabama residents under investigation. Of the 19 people, 4 have been confirmed, 3 have been identified as probable causes, and 1 has been confirmed as lung disease from vaping. Contrast to popular belief, vaping isn’t safe for you or your body. 


 Knoxville TN news reported that on September 20, a Knoxville man by the name of Dylan Collins was rushed to the hospital after he was vomiting out of control. Doctors confirmed he had pneumonia in his lungs and was septic, an infection that causes organ failure and dangerously low blood pressure. Collins was given an enormous amount of oxygen and was told he only had a few days left to live. After four days, doctors were able to get him stable. His wife confirmes that THC and vape juices caused his infections.


Smoking marijuana can have dangerous effects on your body. “The complications are more than the person becomes delusional and impaired in terms of their judgment. Their risk-taking behavior increases, so they put themselves at risk of trauma mainly, rather than a physiological problem with the drug itself”, Dr. Edward Newton, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Southern California, told Healthline magazine. 


When inhaling the smoke into your lungs, it’s possible to burn your mouth and throat. It also slows your balance and coordination. If you smoke marijuana too often, you’re likely to develop a cough with a lot of phlegm, which is a thick mucus. You’re digestive system and central nervous system is also in danger. The THC in marijuana can cause nausea and vomiting, as well as do damage to your liver. 


THC also triggers a chemical in your brain called dopamine, a “feel good” chemical that is usually called a “high”. THC also changes the way you process information and your sense of judgment. The most common effect of marijuana is hallucinations and delusions, and it can make some mental health issues worse.