WFDD's Radio 101 has chosen to use only the first initial of the student in the following story due to the sensitive subject matter and to protect the student's privacy.

It was on a bus back home from a field hockey game that M tried a vape for the first time.

"And I look over at my friends across the aisle from me. And I see them like ... like being really like secretive and like covering their mouths." M says, "And I was like, 'Oh, they're vaping.' And, so I was like, 'Can I try it?' And she was like, 'Yeah,' and so my friend came over in my seat and taught me how to do it. And I only did it like twice."

Two puffs during the fall of 2022.

However, this adventure quickly turned into an addiction. According to M, she started to vape almost every hour of the day. She's tried to quit it several times, with little to no success. 

"I have noticed that I am a lot more irritable and I get a lot more annoyed easily, and I just like don't have an appetite and I'm in a bad mood overall all day. It's not fun. And it's like, it's really hard," M explains.

According to Phillip Clapp, an associate scientist at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston Salem, North Carolina, there has been an increase in the consumption of disposable flavored e-cigarettes such as ELFBAR. But there's also been an increase in knock-off ELFBARs with little understanding of where these products are coming from.

"When you pick up one of these products that you may get in school, or from somebody, a friend or someone you know at school, and you inhale it, you're really really rolling the dice," Clapp says. "You're rolling the dice with the potential to become addicted to a substance like nicotine. But moreover, you're rolling the dice to inhale something that could potentially cause immediate harm to your lungs, and even death."

When it comes to quitting, Clapp recognizes that there are chemical ways to aid people in this process, but those are not recommended for teenagers.

"So it really leaves this gap that we really need to be having a conversation around. That if adolescents are becoming addicted to these products, and there are withdrawals associated with stopping the products, how do we address that if there's not pharmacological ways or prescriptions that we can give that help with that sort of thing?" Clapp says. "How can we help adolescents both stop and get rid of the nicotine addiction, but then also prevent initiation in the first place?"

As of the airing of this story, M is still struggling to get through an entire school day without vaping.

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