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Opinion: Vaping ruined my daughter’s life. Don’t let it near yours

Over 1 in 10 Utah high schoolers are vaping. Their developing brains are being manipulated by nicotine addiction and we need our congressmen to act

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Dr. Sean Callahan, assistant professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, looks over an X-ray of a lung injury

Dr. Sean Callahan, assistant professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, looks over an X-ray of a vaping-induced lung injury at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City on Sept. 13, 2019.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Did you know, over one out of 10, or 12.4%, of Utah high schoolers use e-cigarettes regularly, compared to just 1.9% who smoke? Unfortunately, kids are getting addicted to nicotine, which studies show is harmful for the developing brain. Studies also show teens addicted to nicotine are at high risk for turning to traditional cigarettes or even other addictive substances.

 Unfortunately, the predatory tactics of e-cigarette companies tricked my daughter into believing their products could help her feel better, improve her depression, and have more fun. Instead the chemicals in these products changed her brain, enhancing her anxiety and depression, leading to serious addiction and significantly increasing her suicide ideation.  For a time she felt so hopeless she didn’t didn’t want to live. We almost lost her.

Vape addiction stole my daughter’s senior year, devastated our relationship with her for a time and cost us thousands of dollars in substance abuse treatment. Unfortunately, the battle has not ended. The other day our daughter said, “Literally vaping is the worst decision I have ever made in my life.” 

Thankfully our own Congressman Chris Stewart currently serves as the Republican co-chair of the Congressional Caucus to End the Youth Vaping Epidemic and has been a true leader on this issue. We urge Congressman Stewart to continue to push the FDA to make reducing youth e-cigarette use a top priority. The agency is currently making decisions regarding which e-cigarettes can remain on the market. We ask him to urge the FDA not to authorize the sale of any flavored e-cigarettes.

Kye Nordfelt

St. George

Suicide prevention resources

Suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Crisis hotlines
  • Utah County Crisis Line: 801-691-5433.
  • Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000.
  • Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988.
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386.

Online resources