E-Cigarette use declines among students


Graphic by Benjamin Buchalter '25.

Even though they are promoted to be safer than tobacco products, e-Cigarettes still cause harm to the human body.

“Great, another Inklings article about vaping,” you say, barely skimming through before moving on to the next story about a new album from a pop artist. Yet despite the messaging that vaping is an omnipresent threat to students at Staples High School, according to Assistant Principal Patrick Micinilio, most students do not vape.

Several challenges are facing the e-Cigarette industry, leading to its decline in popularity among students. One such difficulty being faced is legal challenges. Last month, Juul settled a lawsuit for $440 million out of court regarding marketing towards children and teenagers. Despite Juul’s marketing campaign, some students have never received ads from the company.

“I did not ever get a Juul ad in my life,” Zephyr Yeager ’25 said. “Nor have I ever vaped.”

The financial struggles of Juul Labs Inc., one of the main e-Cigarette producers, shows its troubles in staying relevant. In the first quarter of 2022, Bloomberg reported that Juul Labs lost 23% of its profits compared to the previous year. This has been attributed to the United States’ crackdown on e-Cigarettes through the FDA’s “The Real Cost” campaign

Patrick Micinilio

We had a massive spike pre-COVID. But, we’ve seen a decline [in vaping] post-COVID.

— Assistant Principal, Patrick Micinilio.

“I’ve received ads that are against Juul, like ‘the truth’,” Troy Kudrjavtsev ’25 said, “or like the really cringey meme ads.”

Broadly, vaping has fallen from the cultural zeitgeist. According to Google Trends, interest in vaping as well as various e-Cigarette companies peaked in September of 2019. Since that date, vaping has been in a near-constant decline. According to the CDC, between 2021 and 2022, the number of teenagers in both middle and high school using e-Cigarettes fell in half – from roughly 5,290,000 to just 2,550,000.

Micinilio said five students total were punished last year for using e-Cigarettes, but only one in the first quarter of this year.

“We had a massive spike pre-COVID,” said Micinilio, “but we’ve seen a decline [in vaping] post-COVID.”