Thank you to the 1,185 teenagers who participated in the ninth week of our 10-week Summer Reading Contest, and congratulations to Jordan Ferdman, our winner, as well as to our many runners-up and honorable mentions.
Scroll down to take a look at the variety of topics — from “sharenting” and vegan kimchi to coding in coal country and climate activism — that caught the eyes of our participants this week. You can find the work of all our winners since 2017 in this column.
Jordan Ferdman from New York City chose an article headlined “Dozens of Young People Hospitalized for Breathing and Lung Problems After Vaping” and wrote:
I couldn’t have been older than eight when my parents introduced to me the concept of intent versus impact. The idea that when you hurt someone, or your actions have a negative consequence, your intent is not what matters.
I cannot help but wonder if executive James Monsees understands my parents’ guiding principle. Though he acknowledged the rampant use among underage Americans, Juul products continue to sell. The effects of this are not, by any means, difficult to find: Shelia Kaplan’s “Dozens of Young People Hospitalized for Breathing and Lung Problems After Vaping” makes this abundantly clear. The bathrooms at my school are affectionately referred to as the “Juul rooms.” A well-known — and admittedly overdone — joke passed around in the hallways is about “toilets in the Juul room.” It would be easier for me to count my friends that don’t own a Juul than to count the friends that do. The vaping device has become so ingrained in teenage life that it’s difficult to go a day without seeing one peeking out of a pencil case or smuggled up a sleeve. Several of my classmates cannot go more than an hour or two without taking a hit in the school bathroom or, in some cases, the back of a classroom.
Executives claim hooking teenagers on nicotine was not the intention of the company, which is valued at $38 billion. But it is the impact, and failure to not only own up to that but to take larger steps to mitigate its damages is a disservice to the country’s youth.
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