The Vaping Epidemic at DVC

Chelsea McKinnon and Jacob Flowers

For many, vaping is seen as a new trend that came from the 2010s, but it’s now associated for roughly 1,604 cases of unidentified lung illness and 26 deaths across the United States as of October 22nd.

Invented in 2001 by Hon Lik, as an alternative to smoking, the modern e-cigarette is now a hallmark of high school culture. According to, around 20% of American high school students have used vapes at one point or another. Despite being manufactured for adult use only, many teenagers have turned to vaping nicotine, concentrated THC, and other illicit substances.

“I believe that the danger encompasses everyone who’s vaping,” said Principal Erin D’Souza, “and I would say that it seems like the companies who were marketing seemed to have marketed towards younger users, which means that it’s possible that more young users took to this type of recreation, and it worries me.” 

Vaping advertisements are a major concern for politicians across the nation. Legislation in cities such as San Francisco started banning the use of vapes. Even the president has proposed the nationwide ban of flavored vape pods. Despite this and multiple warnings issued by organizations like the FDA, some students across California have refused to kick their habits. 

Although many minors succumb to peer pressure, that’s not the sole reason for Los Angeles youth’s vaping habits. Many minors, especially adolescents, are curious about the effects.

“I’m the type where if I don’t feel comfortable doing something I won’t do it but, not going to lie, I did want to try it,” one student at DVC said.

Aside from general curiosity, others use vapes-specifically wax pens-as a substitute for traditional medication.

“I am afflicted with mental illnesses,” another anonymous student at DVC said. “I’m not a huge fan of traditional antidepressants, and I have tried holistic methods that just proved ineffective so as a last resort, I turned to vaping wax.” 

Underaged vaping has grown to become an increasingly more pervasive issue with each passing day. Because of this, DVC has offered help to those who desire to kick their drug habits.

Vaping products are becoming more and more targeted to younger ages through the use of flavoring.

 “I think if students know that someone is vaping, or someone might need some help with something, they’re going to likely know that before an adult,” said D’Souza. “You know, figuring out what the best way to handle that is and hopefully seeking help from an adult they trust like a staff member and letting them know that you know, they’re concerned about someone and their use, so we can get that person help.”