In December, Wayne State University’s Public Research Methods class conducted research on Benjamin Carson High School’s 11th graders about the impact of vaping and e-cigarettes, and found that most students were aware of the impact of using these devices.
The research focused on what high school students, especially juniors, thought about e-cigarettes and aimed to make teens aware of what vaping and e-cigarettes are, along with the consequences of using these devices.
Iman Andari, an honors student at WSU and the student group leader of the research, said its goal was to find out what BCHS students think about vaping, “and then create an intervention,” or a way to help lower the prevalence of e-cigs among high school students.
In November, WSU took Knowledge, Attitudes & Perceptions surveys of the students, with questions asking if they knew about e-cigarettes, the effects of using them, and if they are harmful to use. The survey answers followed a 1-5 scale, with 1 representing "strongly agree," 2 "agree," 3 "neither," 4 "disagree," and 5 being "strongly disagree.”
After conducting the surveys, the WSU students put together seven surveys and visited BCHS again on Dec. 5. They presented the results to participants with answers to the vaping questions, along with additional information on how to stop teen vaping. Each group had different conclusions that were based on the different interventions.
The data showed that many students were familiar with the health effects that can emerge from e-cigarette use. For example, 80% agreed that e-cigarette use is popular among their peers, and 49% were concerned with the fact that their peers use e-cigarettes.
According to one of the presentations, the participants agreed that electronic cigarettes were primarily targeted to their peers and intentionally exploit insecurities that young adults deal with, such as wanting to fit or wanting to look cool to boost their self-esteem.
“What we found is that people use it because of stress… (and) because it’s popular,” Andari said.
BCHS student Zy’kiya Terry said the presentations did not have an impact on BCHS students.
“Honestly it had no impact… (teens) go their own way… I guess they feel like ‘OK, I’m going to do what I want, I'm almost grown’ … whatever that they smoke, as long as they have that in their system, they’re good,” Terry said. “They already know all this information and they’re still gonna do it.”