Dipping tobacco at AHS has been an atrocious problem and it seems that there is no end to the use of this substance that has gotten some students hooked.
Walk into any Andover High men’s bathroom on any given day, during any given block and there is almost a guarantee that some form of dipping tobacco will be present. It gunks up the toilets, hangs from the ceilings, and fills the sinks. AHS bathrooms seem to be a dumping ground for chew users who even put their empty tins in the toilets. A sickening fruity or minty aroma can be found in the men’s rooms on most days.
The real problem is that most people don’t clean up and they leave messes everywhere,” says senior Stephen Beaumont. Beaumont claims that sometimes he cannot even use the toilets if there are tins or too much dip in them.
Dipping tobacco itself is a leafy, ground up plant that is mixed with chemicals such as nicotine and even things like shards of fiber glass. People put the tobacco in their cheeks or lips and constantly spit the juice out, making it a messy process for users. Once the “lip” is done, users take out the tobacco and throw it away. The problem at Andover High is that throwing it away or flushing it down the toilet seems to be too difficult for some people. Because of the addictive nicotine in dip, users have a physical and mental need for the substance if they use it often enough.
According to AHS health teacher Ms. Breen, dipping tobacco can cause “withdrawal symptoms” including “headaches and irritability,” not to mention the danger of mouth and throat cancer that comes with tobacco. Quite the price to pay, but tobacco users are more than willing to face these threats. Breen does hope that introducing a larger unit on the effects of dipping tobacco in junior health classes will help to combat this plague that has stricken some of the high school’s students.
Users themselves realize the problem they have created both for themselves and for the school. An anonymous senior dipping tobacco user said, “I try to clean up always after I dip in the bathrooms, but some kids have no respect.” This user dips 3-4 times during the school day alone and says it takes a toll on his wallet. “I pick up a new tin every 2 or 3 days. It adds up to a lot of cash.”
By Zach Perry