|Lori Gillies with grade 12 students Patrick|
Donovan and Hayley Underhill
Gillies is a registered respiratory therapist who travels to patients homes to assist them when they have lung or heart problems.
She says that she deals with many teenagers whose breathing problems stem from smoking and/or vaping.
Gillies started off by explaining the difference between a cigarette and a vape pen. The main difference is that a cigarette is tobacco wrapped in a paper coating with a filter on the end. A vape, however, is a battery powered device where the main source of nicotine comes from a pod filled with flavoured juice.
Vapes can have many different names and come in all shapes, sizes and flavours. The most common vape for teens and young adults are JUUL and SMOK, because of their small size. Gillies also explained that because companies market vape juices with delicious names, most kids are vaping for the taste of the juice, not the nicotine.
Gillies also highlighted the history of smoking and vaping. From distinct cave pictures, smoking can be dated back to 600 - 900 AD whereas vapes were only introduced in 1963, and then marketed for sale in 2004.
The first vape was designed by Hon Lik, a pharmacist from Shenyang, China. He first came up with the idea for a vape when his father died of lung cancer. He wanted to create an alternative to smoking so addicts could quit more easily. His prototype was marketed for sale in North America in April 2006.
Despite the overwhelming benefits e-cigarettes were supposed to have when first introduced, medical professionals have been detecting more and more long-term effects of vaping since the late 2000s.
First off, vapes can have everything from bath salts, to THC, to battery acid to antifreeze in them. They also pose dangerous health effects such as COPD, cancer, heart disease, asthma, and diabetes.
Some users were even reported to have gotten third degree burns from their vapes exploding. One juice pod for a vape contains the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes, but users still tend to overuse vapes due to their taste.
In conclusion, Gillies reminded students to never to start vaping and/or smoking, and if they had already started, they should stop immediately. She also offered some resources and support that students can use to help them stop. In the end, it is a matter of life or breath.
Photo by Isabella Hallihan
Article by Shana Jardine