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In the midst of the nationwide outbreak of vaping, many cases of lung illness are making an appearance in the United States and now, even in Wyoming. 

Vaping is the inhalation of vapor created by an electronic cigarette or other vaping device. People vape products containing nicotine, as well as other substances such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is also the chemical in marijuana. Vaping with nicotine is highly addictive; it is a chemical that contains nitrogen which is also made by several types of plants. Nicotine can slow the development of the brain in teens, and also affect memory, concentration, attention, and mood. Vaping THC causes breathing issues, and can impact the brain, according to the “New York Center for Living.” Some people vape to quit smoking, while others do it just for fun. 

The first case of vaping related lung disease was confirmed in Wyoming. According to the Wyoming Department of Health, a young adult living in Uinta County was hospitalized with severe lung disease. He reported vaping the past few months leading up to the hospitalization. 

“I think vaping shows a lack of ability to judge what is actually important in life,” a student reported anonymously in a CHS administered survey. “If you are vaping for fun and you’re not putting your time toward something else, it shows that you have insufficient abilities to function.” 

Oftentimes, the problem lies in the fact that users aren’t aware of the chemicals in the vaping products. A study of 86 lung-injury patients in Wisconsin and Illinois found that 87% reported using vaping products that contained THC. “Dank Vapes” was the most commonly used brand name. That brand is one of many illicit labels that sellers can find online and slap on products. Because of this, several states and cities have announced vaping bans in response to the recent illnesses and deaths, according to The New York Times. 

The Washington Post reported nearly 1,300 cases and at least 28 deaths in every state but Alaska that were connected to e-cigarettes. These patients typically experienced coughing, shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, fever, weight loss, with some patients even requiring to be put on ventilators. The use of e-cigarettes rose from 1.5% to 16% among high-school students and from 0.6% to 5.3% in middle-school students between 2011 and 2015. 

“People aren’t fully aware of the consequences vaping nicotine or THC actually has on them.” Senior Caleb Murphy said,“Their brains aren’t fully matured, so they truly don’t know what they are doing to themselves.”

According to CNBC, a federal survey shows 27.5% of high school students have used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. Even Melania Trump tweeted, “it’s our responsibility as parents to understand the dangers that come from vaping. Our Administration supports the removal of flavored e-cigarettes from stores until they’re approved by @US_FDA.” 

In a survey sent out to Cody High School students, 25% of them reported to know at least 30 people who vape with products containing THC or nicotine. More than 37% said they knew 10 people who use those products. 

“Although I do vape with THC, I think vaping nicotine is completely different. Nicotine has major short and long term effects on the brain and body. I think vaping nicotine isn’t appropriate, especially for high schoolers,” another anonymous student answered. 

Whether it’s nicotine or THC, the reality is that teens are vaping without knowing the long-term and often harmful effects.