Number of Morton students are smoking

Aileen Vasquez, reporter

A significant number of Morton East students are vaping.

In a random survey of 72 Morton students, 20 said they vape nicotine.  The others say they don’t vape, but this is only for nicotine. Half of the people that said no to vaping nicotine said they do vape weed/carts. Kids should not be vaping at a young age because most contain nicotine. Nicotine is a highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues in the early mid -20s. Also, about 8.6 million people in the US have at least 1 serious illness that’s caused by smoking. Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.

“Kids smoking in school is unfortunately common.  Often, they will go to the bathroom to smoke. I wish things were different and students felt like school was a place where being under the influence was unnecessary. I have not personally witnessed it before,” Miss Miller, math teacher at Morton East High School, said.

Another teacher has also noticed a problem increase in vaping.

“The last few years, it seems more and more students are using vaping for THC smoking to get high. It is more discrete, easier to hide, and more convenient. Students ask to use the bathroom and then come back to the class high. Or I go into the bathroom to use it and it smells like weed vape. I feel like the invention of vaping has made smoking much more easy for kids these days. whether is it THC or nicotine they are smoking out of the vape, kids these days are about to take part in smoking much easier due to the fact that vapes are so convenient. You don’t need a lighter, everything is there for you alreadNy assembles as long as you have a charged battery. Unfortunately, many kids these days are using THC vape to self-medicate because they are not able to regulate their feeling and were not taught how to deal with certain things, so they get high to cope. Vaping have made it that much easier to do so.,” resource teacher Miss Radojevich said.

Staff continues to be concerned with the negative impact of smoking on students.  Unfortunately, students can’t see the long term effects that smoking has on their coping skills and physical and mental well -being.  They just notice the “dulling of the senses.”

“Vaping is increasingly becoming a bigger problem because students don’t seem to know its impact on their health. Students tell me they do it to deal with stress, which highlights the need for them to learn healthy coping skills instead,”  resource teacher Miss Rymark said.

If you or someone you know has a vaping or substance abuse problem, please see your guidance counselor or reach out to community service organizations like Corazon or Youth Crossroads for help.