Thursday, December 12, 2019

As most parents are probably aware – there has been extensive discussions and conversations around the topic of vaping – both from the local perspective, as well as from the responses and reactions, legislatively.  So, I wanted to start with some background information regarding vaping . . .

VAPING . . . What is it?  It’s the act of inhaling vapor produced by a vaporizer or electronic cigarette.  The vapor is produced from a material such as an e-liquid, concentrate, or dry herb.

What is a vaporizer?  A vaporizer is an electronic device that turns vaping material into vapor.  A vaporizer usually consists of a battery, main console or housing, cartridges, and atomizer.  The battery generates the power for the heating element in the atomizer, which contacts the vaping material and transforms it into vapor for inhalation.

According to some of the recent data released – approximately 10% of all Americans now vape on a daily basis; and almost 70% of those people started within the last 12 months.  In addition, 38% of all high schoolers and 13% of all middle schoolers have tried vaping… with over 20% of high schoolers and 5% of middle schoolers continuing to use vape devices occasionally or regularly.  Interestingly, over 40% of the current e-cigarette and/or vape users have never been regular cigarette smokers.

So, what’s the bottom line – New e-cigarette shaped like a USB flash drive is being used by students in school.  Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm brain development, which continues until about age 25.  The use of any tobacco product including e-cigarettes is unsafe for young people.  As a collective effort – parents, educators, and health care providers can all help prevent and reduce the use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, by our students.

As a collective effort, we all can learn about the different shapes and types of e-cigarettes and the risks of all forms of e-cigarette use.  We all can talk with our children/students about the risks of e-cigarette use among young people and express firm expectations for remaining tobacco-free.  It’s also important to continue to set a positive example.

As we all know, the world has changed dramatically, and the acceleration of change only seems to increase.  There are dangers and hurdles seemingly around every corner for our students/youth.  There are things that we did not face in our youth, and it can be confusing for us to navigate as we try to advise our children.  Vaping is one such new development within the last several years.  As most folks know, vaping was originally marketed as a safer alternative to smoking.   But, so little is really known about the long-term effects at this point, but we are starting to see that there are some significant short-term effects that many did not predict.