Cade started vaping in 8th grade. Now he’s a high school senior and trying to quit. 37 percent of high school seniors say they vaped in 2018, and sales of one popular brand, JUUL, grew more than 600 percent from 2016 to 2017. Each pod can contain as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes, but less than a single pod can make a teenager’s brain susceptible to lifelong addiction.
Vaping Cost One Teen His Health and Dreams
Published: March 27, 2019
Cade: I get really anxious and I crave it.
Onscreen: Cade started vaping in 8th grade.
Cade: My temper gets really short when I’m using it.
Onscreen: Now he’s a high school senior, and trying to quit.
Cade: Usually, a pod a day. The craving...I’m constantly running through my head, “I really want nicotine right now, I really want to use my vape.” Sophomore year I remember going to hockey tryouts and not having the lung capacity to constantly be skating up and down the ice. My breathing is so fast I just feel drained of energy
Kristin: There were definite changes in him. Anger… I would say that’s probably the biggest effect that we’ve noticed. It took us until about a month ago to really understand that he does have an addiction. I think it wasn't until I found a tin in his car that was filled with empty pods, hundred of them. It made me sick to my stomach.
Onscreen: 37 percent of high school seniors say they vaped in 2018. Sales of one popular brand, JUUL, grew more than 600 percent from 2016 to 2017. Pods can contain as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes.
Dr. Jonathan Winickoff: A lot of kids don't consider it a drug, but it absolutely is. It changes your brain. Maybe just half a pod and then your brain is susceptible to continued and lifelong addiction. With the teenage brain, it takes less nicotine, the addiction is stronger and it’s much harder to quit. And what’s really unfair is there is not good treatments. So once you’ve become addicted to this, it’s a long road back.
Cade: I got caught in school with a vape device on me and I got suspended five games. Those five games, I had scouts coming and I wasn't able to play obviously so it didn't really work out. It was a big blow because it was my senior year and I lost my captainship.
Kristin: Having what happened to him happen, I think it was a huge eye opener that he had a problem. Through the years when this has been going on, ultimately the only real joy I as a mom had was watching him play hockey. When he was named captain, it allowed us to have a bond. We were able to communicate about events for the team. It was great, I felt like it was our chance to reconnect.
Cade: I was like, viewed as one of the better players on the team. Like, I constantly was living up to that expectation. And then since I screwed up, that expectation is still there for other people. I always thought it was water vapor going into my lungs and wouldn't do anything. It's really taken a toll on my body the past four years. I’ve really noticed it.
Onscreen: Cade was prescribed nicotine gum to help him quit vaping. He says it's helped him cut back.
Digital Producer: Emily Zendt
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