By Nicole Fernandez | Staff Writer

With the popularity of e-cigarettes rising in recent years, many are worried about the health consequences. The Center for Disease and Control reported last week that the number of confirmed deaths caused by vaping has risen to 34. The CDC’s information is compiled from evaluating 49 states, the District of Columbia, and one U.S. territory. However, that has not seemed to change KCC students’ opinions much.

First year student Sean Ibara, 25, does not smoke and his feelings on vaping remain the same since it first became available.

“I never [vaped], I’ve never even tried it … not even regular cigarettes,” said Ibara. “I’ve heard of all the chemicals inside of it, and I heard it can really mess up your lungs.”

Last month, the Trump administration announced that there would be a crackdown on all flavored vaping products in an effort to discourage teenage users. Vapes use flavored juices, such as pineapple and mint, and the taste has been linked to the reason behind its popularity with the younger generations.

On the apparent health crises, Ibara said, “I only care about secondhand smoke, but my brother uses Juuls and stuff. It doesn’t [bother me].”

Other non-smoking students are in agreement. Out of a total of 15 students interviewed, eight do not use e-cigarettes, but they were unconcerned with the health issues that have made headlines.

One second-year male student, who has asked to remain anonymous, smokes regularly. He uses a Juul, a type of e-cigarette, with both nicotine and marijuana. He has been smoking since his sophomore year of high school and has no plans on stopping.

“I’m not a chronic [smoker],” he said. “Even if I was I wouldn’t care. Vapes been around for a while now, I think, so all these deaths isn’t a crises. Look at all the people that died from normal [smoking], and it’s still legal.”

The CDC reported in 2014 that cigarettes have caused an average of “more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States [and] more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure” every year. 

According to Hawaiʻi’s Health Department, Hawaiʻi ranks second in the U.S. for e-cigarette use among high schoolers.