CFNN Journalist Sophia Bullard

We all do things we know we probably shouldn’t do. We eat things that are bad for us, we put ourselves in unnecessary danger; sometimes we even advertise it to others. No matter how old you are, you’ve probably been around someone who has smoked or used harmful substances, maybe you’ve done it. Here is where the problem starts.

As teenagers, we deal with a lot of stress and changes. Rebellion is a common thing we all go through at some point in our lives. When we have a lot of stressful things going on though, we tend to act out more. Vapes have certain chemicals in them that have been proven to be potentially toxic metal nanoparticles. Drugs interfere with the way neurons send, receive, and process signals via neurotransmitters. Some drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, can activate neurons because their chemical structure mimics that of a natural neurotransmitter in the body. This allows the drugs to attach onto and activate the neurons.

Nearly 40% of 12th graders have reported using a vape in the past year, and over 20% have reported using a vape in the past month. This depressing fact isn’t even the worst part. A recent report published by the U.S. Surgeon General indicated that e-cigarette use among high school students increased by a whopping 900% between 2011 and 2015. 

Drugs are more often used as an act of rebellion than vapes. Vaping can be done because of stress, they think it’s cool and want to fit in, or even because people think it’s safer than cigarettes. That’s not true, by the way. But drugs, while seemingly don’t have much of an impact on you at first, can kill you. A study done called ‘Drug Identification and Testing in the Juvenile Justice System’ reported the following effects of youth substance abuse, “Young people who persistently abuse substances often experience an array of problems, including academic difficulties, health-related problems (including mental health), poor peer relationships, and involvement with the juvenile justice system. Additionally, there are consequences for family members, the community, and the entire society.”

Most of the time, parents don’t even know their children are participating in the use of drugs, and other *illegal* things. If you get caught using drugs underage, you could get caught in serious legal problems. “Minors convicted of misdemeanor offenses, yet prosecuted as adults, are likely to face small court fines, probation and drug conditions, short terms of imprisonment and court-ordered drug treatment, while felony convictions are more likely to result in extended periods of incarceration (up to 10 years) and excessive fines (up to $300,000).” says Bryan Hindin, a legal affairs intern, when writing about the consequences of drug use as a minor. Vaping is much more common, kids selling and buying from each other. Selling tobacco or vapor products to people under age 21 is a gross misdemeanor and could result in criminal charges, fines, or both. 

Sometimes life can get hard, and you may want a place to escape and relax, but harming your body and putting yourself in the position of possibly being faced with criminal charges, isn’t a way to do that. Instead, play a sport to channel your anger or stress, organization can help, join a club, or hang out with friends who won’t put you in bad situations.