Name: Azalea Beaver
From: Oswego, IL
Who Is to Blame?
Who Is to Blame?
Why do so many teenagers have problems with addiction to nicotine at such a young age? Is it the teen’s fault? Do we blame peer pressure and social anxiety and the desire to fit in? Or do we blame the nicotine companies that specifically market the vapes and nicotine devices and flavors to appeal to the younger generation? These are questions that so many of our finest mins have pondered and tried to figure out solutions to. With nicotine being one of the leading causes of addiction for children under the age of 18, we must help children understand the extreme consequences, emotionally and physically of an addiction.
Being a teenager is hard enough, from the emotions and hormones that we are experiencing, all adding up to wanting to fit in. The drive for acceptance and validation from our peers is one of the most important things to a teenager in high school. This drive allows teenagers to get caught in bad situations, if asked by another peer “do you want a hit” or “you want a vape”, the majority of teens will give in to the pressure of that situation. In those situations, the teenagers don’t evaluate and ask questions, about the future effects of their decisions but rather they see none of those lasting effects because “their friends do it and they’re not addicted”. But addiction isn’t always visible, addictions appear in many different ways, from a slight mental battle to distancing yourself from the people you love. The amount children who vape and who have a high chance of possible addiction is undeniably concerning, the National Center for Drug Abuse reports that “About 50% of teenagers in high school use drugs like nicotine” knowing that half of my peers turned to substances either from peer pressure or enforced marketing from nicotine companies is incredibly scary to me. Because I believe even if we are going through tough emotional or physical battles we are always worth it. And someone will always miss you if you are lost from addiction.
Marketers also take advantage of the number of teens addicted to nicotine by specifically marketing their ads and products to the teenage demographic. Fun flavors and smells are directly marketed to the teenage population, to make vaping seem fun and innocent. These industries are abusing their power to draw teenagers into addiction from their products. As a civilization, we must come out and stop these big corporations from marketing their products to teenagers. No parent, friend, or teacher should have to lose another loved one due to the problem of addiction to nicotine. We must stand together and fight against big nicotine companies and educate our youth about the effects of nicotine.