Vaping: a Wide-Spread Epidemic at Cam High


Karen Abdelmalek

Pictured is one of the ten vape pens that Deputy Legge has confiscated from students since the start of the school year.

Since vape pens first became available on a global scale in 2004, Cam High has experienced an increase in the amount of students who partake in vaping both during and after school.

“I think vaping is a major problem at our school,” said Aleks Ensign, sophomore, “the bathrooms are always filled with people using vape products.” Dr. Kim Stephenson, Cam High’s principal, has received many complaints about the excessive use of vape products during the school day. In response, Stephenson said that the school’s staff are monitoring bathrooms more closely this year, in order to minimize the use of vape products in school.

“Students are addicted before they get to high school because it’s seen in freshmen and sophomores, mostly,” said Stephenson. However, vaping can be seen in the upper-grade levels as well. Through a phone interview with The Stinger, Gaberille Teran, a district director at the Ventura County of Education (VCOE), said, “In 2016, about 33% of juniors were actively vaping.” He also said that most students are vaping due to easy access to the products and peer pressure.

Students are often unaware of the negative effects of vaping since there have been few scientific studies or warnings in the past years. According to Teran, the nicotine involved in vaping can cause a teenager’s risk of lung cancer to rise. Metal poisoning is also a common issue. “The high heat put on the coil causes metals to be vaporized and enter the body, which causes heavy metal poisoning over time,” said Teran.

Students at Cam High have come forward and offered to tell their respective stories about vaping. The students who agreed to share their stories did so with the intent to deter other teenagers from vaping. In order to preserve the privacy of these students, The Stinger will not publish their names.

The first student began to vape primarily due to the strain they felt over family issues as well as mental health problems. They said they never intended to become addicted to vaping. “When I got my own Suorin, it turned into a full-blown nicotine [addiction],” they said. This student has had a difficult time quitting vaping because they lack a support system.

Another student was pressured into vaping. “I was peer pressured by friends and siblings,” they said, “[I] also [started vaping] because I was called names and did not have many friends at the beginning of high school.” The student eventually overcame their addiction to vaping, but it took them over two months. They hope that high school students will come to the realization that vaping is not a healthy decision.

According to a student, distributors normally acquire vape pens and materials through Supreme and Exotic — two of the most competitive and high-selling vape and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) companies in America. A student who formerly sold the materials for vape pens said they did it to earn money, which they used to pay for Advanced Placement (AP) exams that are around $100 each.

The administration plans to take further actions to decrease the amount of vaping on campus. “We can’t completely get rid of vapes because of how small they are; however, we will be talking to parents and students through email. Also, we will be purchasing a device to install in the bathrooms to detect if anyone is vaping,” said Stephenson.

Since the beginning of the school year, Deputy Mike Legge, Cam High’s Resource Officer, has confiscated ten vape pens.