Voices of Youth

Several high school students in Tri-City Health Center’s service area have written posts sharing concerns about tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes or “vapes.” Jesus Covarrubias, a senior at Fremont’s Irvington High School, shares his thoughts about how people can find support when trying to quit vaping.

Tri-City Health Center offers a free confidential program to help adults and youth quit smoking and vaping. Contact Brian Davis at bdavis@tri-cityhealth.org or Wen Soon at wsoon1@tri-cityhealth.org.

The addiction no one wants: tobacco products

By: Jesus Covarrubias

Vaping is a new type of trend that is taking over the United States and the rest of the world. According to “Why Teen Vaping is an Epidemic that Needs Combating, Experts Warn” by Daily Herald’s Madhu Krishnamurthy, vaping use among teens has quickly risen through the years and is outpacing other substances, such as alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs and opioids.

With the rising popularity of vaping, addiction follows. Vaping sometimes isn’t enough for teenagers and kids, and they move on to stronger tobacco products for a new high. For cigarettes, did you know that 87 percent of smokers begin smoking before the age of 18 and nearly 94 percent before age 20 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)? What can you do to help stop addiction to tobacco?

According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, there are 10 ways to help combat tobacco addiction. One option is nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine replacement therapy includes nicotine nasal spray, inhaler, patches, gum, and lozenges. Another way is to use Prescription medications without nicotine, including bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix). Identify trigger situations and create a plan to avoid them entirely or get through them without using tobacco. Delaying is also another good way to stop smoking. Wait 10 more minutes before smoking and then do something for a distraction. Exercising can also help by getting the mind off smoking. If there is no time for exercise, chores around the house can suffice.

Another way to help combat addiction is calling for reinforcements. Talk to a family member, friend, or a support group member for help in resisting tobacco cravings. To find help, there are also online stop-smoking programs. The last way to help end addiction is to remember the benefits. By quitting, a person will start to feel better, get healthier and save money. Each time someone resists a tobacco craving, they’re one step closer toward being tobacco-free.

Before I started doing my research on vaping and tobacco for QUEST, a senior year Irvington High School project, topic, I did not know the consequences of smoking. I thought that you could just quit whenever you wanted to and be over it. Now I know that smoking changes the way your brain works, and it’s a negative influence on your life, family, friends, and overall health. So before you go smoke, ask yourself, “is it really worth it?”

References:

Krishnamurthy, Madhu. “Why Teen Vaping Is an Epidemic That Needs Urgent Attention, Experts Warn.” Daily Herald, Daily Herald, 21 Aug. 2019, www.dailyherald.com/news/20190820/why-teen-vaping-is-an-epidemic-that-needs-urgent-attention-experts-warn.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Quit-Smoking Products: Boost Your Chance of Success.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 Feb. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/quit-smoking/in-depth/quit-smoking-products/art-20045599.

“The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health. 2014. Report.