Monday, September 2, 2019

Excuse My Ignorance

Recently I decided to write a poem to educate teens on the horrific effects of smoking cigarettes (printed at the bottom of this post). I was immediately chastised for my blatant ignorance regarding e-cigarettes and vaping, the latest craze to come along. Seems as though I was the one in need of an education.

So I reached out to members of the Priceless Poetry group I founded last month, and received a number of sites focused on teen vaping and its proliferation. Although I've read all of them, I have chosen to use the stats found in the article from the Chicago's Daily Herald, 'Why teen vaping is an epidemic that needs urgent attention?'

Additionally, when retrieving the Sunday paper, yes I still read the newspaper, lo and behold, on the front page of the Tribune-Review, Westmoreland Edition, 'Doctors fear new dangers from vaping,' by Emily Balser hit me square in the face!  I was now able to provide stats from Pennsylvania as well. Divine intervention never ceases to amaze me!

According to health experts, teen vaping is outpacing substances that were formerly preferred: alcohol, marijuana, and prescribed opioids.  Nationally,  between 42% - 80% of middle school and high school students are under the false impression that nicotine is absent in vaping products and therefore much safer to smoke. However it has been shown that anywhere from zero to the equivalent of 5 cigarette packs of nicotine could be in vape pods. Because of the appealing flavors, coolness factor, and easy online accessibility, kids have adopted a false sense of security, believing vaping poses little threat to their physical well-being.

Although the short-term and long-term side effects of vaping are still being studied,  due to the extensive amount of chemicals and nicotine mixed into the e-liquids, the most common side effects include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • High fever
  • Headache and throat irritations
  • Inability to sleep/tiredness
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dryness of mouth, eyes and lips
  • Sensitive and bleeding gums
It has been reported that illegal drugs and e-liquids laced with THC, the substance that produces marijuana's high are being vaped, resulting in the possibility of suffering seizures, hallucinations, and compromised motor skills.

The number of teens being hospitalized nationally with respiratory ailments due to vaping is concerning. This year alone by the end of June, 94 cases of lung illnesses were being investigated by both State and Federal health agencies suspecting vaping to be the culprit. The CDC is investigating 215 possible cases of severe lung illnesses associated with e-cigarette use across 25 states, including PA, between June 28 and August 27.

There is so much more to learn about e-cigarettes and what harm vaping does to the body and brain of our young people. Unfortunately it will take time and serious effort to prove the reality of any negative consequences associated with it. Sadly teens are again being lured into suffering lifelong addiction and worse by companies such as JUUL Labs, who are lining their 'profit pockets' and black marketers who sell e-cigarettes of questionable content.

Oh, here is the poem I promised at the top of this post. Supplant 'vaping' and 'e-cig' for their respective counterparts and perhaps there is a nugget of truth to be learned.

Blessings and Peace!

                                                                                         NEVER THE FOOL?
Been smokin’ hard
Since I was ten,
Learned how
From the townie men!

I was real cool,
Never the fool.
Picked up, lit up.
Took a drag, a pull.

Became a teen,  
Oh, what a trip!
Lookin’ hip
With a cig from my lip.

The older I got,
The more I smoked.
Tried to stop,
That was a joke!

My breath smelled foul,
My clothes reeked bad,
The pallor of my skin
Turned motley sad.

Went to the dentist,
My mouth ached a lot,
My teeth were stained,
Decayed with rot.

All needed pulling,
None could be kept,
Had to wear dentures
I ranted and wept.
Still I puffed more,
Couldn’t stop if I tried,
Was addicted for life
Would smoke till I died.

As years went by
Wrinkles crossed my face,
Walking five steps
Was a marathon race!

Now I labor for air
Can’t breathe a lick,
Making me sick.

Was rushed to ER
With cutting distress,
Heart attack struck,
So showed the tests.

At age forty-five
I look eighty no doubt,
Because at ten
I took the wrong route.

Don’t smoke I say,
Not one single cig,
Doesn’t make sense,
Your own grave to dig.

I confess to you now
I was never so cool,
As you can surmise,
Always The Fool!

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