The mysterious vaping illness has killed 37 people. But teens keep vaping

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Teen vaping. Credit: Sarah Johnson from Irvine California, United States.

The bilingual newspaper Boyle Heights Beat recently surveyed teens on their e-cigarette usage by working with high school reporters. Chris Kelly, who writes for the paper realized the inherent limitations in covering the story as an adult.

“A lot of times in our news meetings we just talk about things that are going on in school,” Kelly said. “And we we look for story ideas. We try to teach the students that sometimes things that are happening in school might actually be a story, even though they might be accustomed to it. And one of the things that was brought up actually one day was the fact that they locked bathrooms during passing periods and after school. And so that spurred this whole conversation about why they were doing it.”

The newspaper approached a group of student reporters at a local high school in East LA and asked for their perspective in covering the story.

“Most of them get it from their older family members or older friends who are old enough to go into shops,” said high school student and reporter Azucena Hilario. “It's easy for them to get whatever they want.”

Hilario and the other high school reporters provided an honest perspective on teen vaping. They emphasized that it’s a part of a larger problem present in high schools today.

“There's a lot of schools that put a lot of stress, especially on their top students,” said Hilario. “Most of the time the kids are doing it because it's an overwhelming amount of homework that they [students] get. So if [their teachers] were to stop giving so much homework, they wouldn't do it as much.”



Larry Perel