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  • Writer's pictureHOT LITERATI

Baby's First Vape

Anderson II

I’m young but I already feel old. I remember when vapes hit my high school and you had to hunt for the location of your local brick & mortar to buy the flavored juice and the battery separate. You could buy coil and wicks and hiss clouds of scented mist out like a dragon. They hit the happy trail of the Alabama-Georgia border around the same time as Young Thug’s “Stoner”. I never learned how to do smoke tricks. Back then only the white kids did it so when I tried it out I was made fun of. Puffing clouds: pathetic. I put it off. Juuls emerged and I fell in love with the sleek cyberpunk design and by the time they rippled through New York City I was in college and possessed with melancholia, meaning, I was vulnerable. Love at first sight. I’m dramatic and I’ve always lived life according to my moods so of course when depressed I descended into habitual smoking. Again. But as a sadboi, secretly, in the niches under the International Affairs building, ashamed, listening to Lil Peep and Chris Travis. Then, vapes were everywhere. Clouds, volcanos, storms of cringy mist. Still mostly white guys, in my ends. Nothing like now: ubiquitous, normalized, inescapable, mainstream. I’m ranting like an old man already, back in my day head ahh

Bella Ve

My tenth grade English teacher hated me and I still don’t know why. I’d like to think she was annoyed that I didn’t have to try so hard to get good grades in her class. I got the sense that she thought I was a fuck up or that I was good for nothing or that I was wasting my potential or maybe she just didn’t like my personality. We were studying English literature that year. I think it was raining on the day that she decided to put on the 1971 film adaptation of Macbeth. But it may simply be the way my mind colors the backdrop of this memory. The last thing I saw before crossing the hall to the bathroom were the three witches.

The third floor bathroom was my favorite. I walked in on a friend who happened to need a break at the same time that I did. Neither of us had to pee.

She stood facing the window. It was more that we were in the same friend group than she was my friend. But she was always nice to me. She asked if I wanted to try her vape. Her jewel, she called it. All the kids in Connecticut do it, she told me. I don’t know who she knew from Connecticut, or how she knew that’s what they all did, but I believed her without a second thought and I accepted without hesitation.

We stood in front of the open window in our knee socks and plaid skirts rolled up at the waistband and blew smoke at the letters that spelled out Google on their 9th Avenue corporate offices. It was easy for me to learn how to inhale. I returned to the dark classroom and the three witches were still on the smartboard. There was a feeling in my head I’d never felt before.

By senior year of high school I was smoking weed via vaping oil cartriges, before, during, and after school. It was a long time before I stopped chasing that headrush. It’s a profound regret, having proved my tenth grade English teacher right. My New Year's Resolution for three new years in a row has been to finally kick the nic. I’ll let you know if I ever do.


I tried a vape once at a house party my first week in Ghana for a study abroad. I thought it was a weed pen (I had decided to try on being a cool girl who smoked weed and drank during this brief excursion away from my life) but still accepted it from the pretty girl with cropped hair and shiny eyes. I took one hit and decided it wasn’t the vice for me – much too acrid and it didn’t give me the bubblegum high I’d learned to love – but the two of us got along well enough, as drunk girls at parties tend to, and she became one of the many wives I picked up and drifted away from over the course of my stay. (When I was 22 everyone was a wife or child; never a husband – and rightfully so because when I made someone my husband for the first time they swiftly became a terror).

I later realized the reason it wasn’t the vice for me is because it didn’t do anything to help me leave this plane. Most of my borrowed vices drifted off the same as my wives and children; I didn’t need them outside of a crowd. So, I returned to my original vices of sleeping too long during the day and never at night, and reading fantasy until the only things I saw when I closed my eyes were imaginary lands.

Hailey Cognetti

In middle school I hated vapes and I hated that all my friends started it. I was the only one who had a grudge over it. I'm a lesbian, but before I knew it I dated a boy in 7th grade and I found out he was selling vapes and weed pens. The heartbreak I felt was incurable, after that I was always upset with him, it was like I couldn't trust him anymore. When I was even younger, I found out that Zayn from One Direction smoked cigarettes, oh it was horrible and it shattered the pedestal I put him on. I found out in a Home Depot, and I kind of screamed a little. I vowed to stop supporting him and I immediately chose Niall to obsess over instead, hoping he didn't smoke too.

Once I was in highschool, the craving to smoke was inevitable and I'd never even tried it, but I knew I would love it. I was getting older and I no longer held the same thoughts as my 11 year old self. I kept all my desires to smoke hidden, from everybody, even my friends. I had plenty of friends in highschool who smoked, so there was no issue with my desire to start, but I was always too scared to ask to hit their vape or ask who I should buy one from. Really all I wanted was to smoke alone and no one to know, I think I felt ashamed.

Me being scared stopped me from doing anything like that all freshman year of high school, but alas I found myself ensnared in the intricacies of teenage infatuation. November 1st, 2019 I was with my bestfriend Bella who had a lychee puff bar at the time, and I hit it all night. It was 2 am when I was taking selfies with the vape gripped in my hand and smiling with smoke coming out of my mouth, oblivious to the impending reckoning. I will never forget that lychee flavor puff because I got nic sick from hitting it too much as someone who had never vaped before. It was over after that, i felt so sick, but i'm glad i don't actually remember how it felt. Now everytime i bite into juicy lychee my eyes burst wide open and I remember that night.

When I got nic sick I vowed to never do it again, the feeling must have really scared me. I still don't really like nicotine, it takes my breath away everytime i reintroduce myself to the bad habit, so occasionally I will smoke a cigarette but without a doubt I am regretting it everytime.


I was seventeen in the basement of Tiger Inn. I’d been adopted by a couple of women on the water polo team for a week of partying, drinking from dorm to lawn to the one street where all of the eating clubs sit. The floor was sticky with beer. One of them handed me a vape. I took a puff. It meant nothing to me. I didn’t even know what it was until weeks later, as a friend of mine scrambled to find hers, with a frenetic urgency. I have an extremely addictive personality, but never for nicotine.

This post is in collaboration with QUIT WITH JONES

Jones helps you vape less, or not at all through FDA-approved nicotine mints, behavioral support, and community.


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