Nicholas Boyko and Benji Chang | March 8, 2019
In these hallowed halls of d.tech, a disgusting force of evil has appeared, and that force is vaping. Fortunately, we have weapons to combat this rising tide of vaping: posters. After a recent vaping incident, Henry Lonnemann began putting up posters in and around the bathrooms warning students of the dangers of vaping. This was in part due to the bathrooms’ popularity as vaping dens. Shortly after these Lonnemann-curated posters appeared, a cohort of students began posting their own Minecraft themed anti-vape posters around the school. The posters, which read “vaping is like mining your lungs with a diamond pickaxe,” were posted by a group led by senior Felix Gutierrez.
According to Gutierrez, the posters were created in order to protect people’s health and well-being. Gutierrez says he is someone who, “cares for everyone’s safety and health and that as a proud American…people’s safeties should be prioritized.” Gutierrez also says that his aversion to vaping comes from personal experience, because he has seen many people vaping. He believes that “it’s caused by peer pressure, [people think] that it’s a cool thing,” and that people will come to regret it later in life so his main goal is to stop people from doing something they might later regret. Obviously, the main feature of Gutierrez’s posters is the reference to Minecraft, which has received some mixed reactions from the community.
Gutierrez says he chose Minecraft because he believed that many people could relate to it. However, some people remain unsure. Lonnemann states that he thinks it “depends on the students…it’s [probably] a mixed response.” He also remains uncertain of the motivation behind the group’s actions, stating that he “[doesn’t] know if they were being serious about it or not or if they were just trying to get a laugh,” but he believes that “They’re super creative and bring attention to the issue” regardless. Although they may only be joking, Lonnemann still thinks that it’s good because adolescents can need to hear a message several times for it to stick, so the new posters are helping keep the issue in the minds of the youth.
Lonnemann and Ken Montgomery both remain staunch critics of vaping. Montgomery said that it “upsets [him] when [he] sees a company that builds a product to exploit a flaw in the human operating system.” Lonnemann shares a similar sentiment; although he believes that the d.tech vaping issue is “less [prominent] than [at] other schools,” it is still an issue. With such strong anti vaping initiatives against the addictive JUUL, it’s unclear who will win in the long run. One thing, however, is for certain: as long as vaping continues, so will the crusade against it: and d.tech is on the front lines.