By Emily Drooby
Students at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn have learned a science lesson — but also a life lesson — about the dangers of vaping.
A 2019 CDC survey showed e-cigarette usage is prevalent among young people, with 28 percent of high school teens and 11 percent of middle schoolers admitting they had recently used e-cigs.
It can also be dangerous – over 2,000 people have been hospitalized for lung issues related to vaping.
That’s where this experiment comes in. Developed by Cornell University, the Clinton Hill school is one of the first to use it as a lesson. Students use tetrahymena, a substance which mimics a living cell, and introduce it to e-cigarette vapor. The results are eye-opening.
“Until they see it, until they do it, they’re not necessarily going to believe it,” said Orlando Santiago, chair of the school’s science department.
“When we put the e-cig juice in, all the tetra stopped swimming,” explained student Robert Simpson. “The black particles also represent metal that would be bad in my lungs. So it shows how it’s bad for us.”
“The tetra actually die off,” explained Devonnie Moore, a teacher at the school. “They slow down, their speeds decrease.”
“The steps to correct it with young people is to diminish its attractiveness to use,” said Brother Dennis Cronin, the school’s president. “That’s why I think this program is very important.”
It’s a scary lesson, but it’s one students say they’ll always remember.
“I’m definitely not going to try it because it’s not healthy, it’s not good for your lung,” said student Faith Felix-Patrick
“Many people look to vaping as an alternative to smoking, but now I can prove to people that it’s not that different than smoking,” added fellow student Lawson Thomas.