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TEEN SCENE: Vaping caffeine

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A new vape is on the market and it doesn’t have nicotine

Colby Gallant is a grade 11 student at Bluefield High School completing a co-op placement at The Guardian.
Colby Gallant is a Grade 11 student at Bluefield High School completing a co-op placement at The Guardian.

Last week, my friend sent me a Snapchat of a small blue pen. I was curious and asked what it was. I had assumed it was a disposable oil pen, but what I had not expected it to be was a caffeine vape.

He then sent me a picture of the logo, Eagle Energy, with the tagline: Inhale Your Energy. Since I only turned 15 in 2016, I missed other teen crazes such as the first disposable e-cigarettes, and even before that, cigarillos, but those all contained nicotine. Being a 17-year-old currently, I was able to drive myself to a gas station and buy the caffeine inhaler myself, with the minimum age being 16.

That may concern some, but in terms of strength, it’s somewhere between a cup of coffee (40 mg/100 g) and a Red Bull (147.6 mg/492 g). Eagle Energy contains Guarana extract as its caffeine source. But what’s piquing most people’s interest is its method of consumption.

Should we be worried? Not necessarily, but first a disclaimer that you’ve all heard before: Our bodies all react differently to stimulants and this is based on what I felt solely.

I bought the pen before spending the night at a friend’s house, so I accepted I was kissing it goodbye before the following day. Coming in simple plastic tube with a cap, I popped it out and prepared myself to be blown away by another teen fad. Was I? Far from it.

Underwhelming describes it. There was no initial buzz and we ended up passing it around based solely on the fact that it tastes like Red Bull, go figure. It’s a smooth hit. Unlike vaping nicotine there’s no throat hit, just the sensation of vapor collecting until you exhale. So, what’s all the hype about? Well, I’d like to start by saying it’s good this hasn’t picked up much mainstream attention and inherent controversy, because I can see it fading away with all other gas station vapes.

To me, a teen who frequently has an energy drink in hand, and most likely to an adult who’s fine with a morning cup of joe, the experience is underwhelming. Younger adolescents and those not predisposed to caffeine will more than likely have a different experience. This means even if you are 16, be careful of overdoing it. Whether these will grab the attention of media giants remains to be seen. In the meantime, I’d recommend a double-double.

There are still concerns of vaping turning up with bad side effects in years to come, but it’s largely accepted as a safer alternative to cigarettes. It’s only natural that manufacturers continue to experiment with the concept.

Colby Gallant is a Grade 11 student at Bluefield High School completing a co-op placement at The Guardian.

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