To beat their addiction to vaping, kids need help, not a punishing crackdown

Re “Trying to get students out of the clouds” (Page A1, Dec. 7): While Beth Teitell’s article outlined important steps schools have taken to try to stem the growing vaping epidemic, one large component is missing — the same component that seems to be missing from every other story about the teenage vaping epidemic. As a junior at Buckingham Browne & Nichols, I see that kids are aware of vaping’s significant health risks; however, no amount of health education will stop kids from vaping once they’ve started.

Education efforts prevent kids from picking up the habit, and prevention is important. Yet schools and professionals must realize that this epidemic has shifted from kids vaping because “it’s cool” to kids having developed serious addictions. While the article outlined some ways to stem vaping habits, the words “addict” and “addiction” were not mentioned once.

Administrators and teachers have intensified their campaigns against vaping but have not seemed to address the deeper issue of addiction. Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs on earth, and yet kids get suspended or expelled for vaping rather than treated for their addiction.


If kids stop vaping in school (and that’s a big if), then they’ll vape in their bedrooms or with friends before and after school. The antivaping campaigns have been focused on punishment and deterrence, making vape addicts become more discreet rather than forcing them to stop completely. While punishments and deterrents are important for prevention, the vaping solution must also include a way to treat the addiction.

Alfie Rudnick