Would you let your child come to school with a pack of cigarettes? Did you know that if they bring a “vape pen’’ or “e-cigarette” to school, it is treated the same way?
Has your teen told you that vaping is safe and that the liquid in his or her device is “just like juice or candy”?
In school districts across that nation, the use of vapor pens and e-cigarettes is on the rise. Franklin Regional is concerned that our students and parents are not aware of the dangers of using these devices, and we are asking for your help to keep our schools a safe and healthy place to learn.
What is Vaping or JUULing?
Vaping, also known as JUULing, is becoming more popular with youth in middle school and high school. Vaping means using an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) or other vaping devices. ... E-cigarettes are battery-powered and deliver nicotine through a liquid (called e-juice), which turns into a vapor when using the tools.
The smoking devices and materials that students use go by different names: Vaping pens, JUULs, e-cigarettes, e-juice, e-hookahs, mods, or pods. There are even pod vapor devices that resemble USB thumb drives and are charged via a USB port on a computer.
In general, they heat a liquid into an aerosol form that is inhaled by the user. The fluid can have nicotine, fruit, or other flavorings, and teens will often claim the liquid is either water or another good liquid. There is no way to know if the liquid being vaporized is an illegal substance, such as THC (which is the chemical in marijuana that produces the “high”) without testing.
What are the dangers associated with vaping?
We are finding that teens believe that vaping is safe, especially if they are only vaping flavored liquid (e-juice) without nicotine. Some are telling us that their “parents know all about it’’ or that the students don’t consider it “smoking.’"
What they do not realize is that the effects of vaping are not yet well known and that a growing body of research points to the dangers of this activity. (See the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse page.)
A warning from the Surgeon General
The information below is available on the website of the Surgeon General of the United States: “The Facts on E-Cigarette Use among Youth and Young Adults.”
According to the Surgeon General, the nicotine in e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes is addictive. E-cigarettes are considered tobacco products because most of them contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco.
Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including:
- ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
- flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to severe lung disease
- volatile organic compounds
- heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead
E-cigarettes are very popular with young people:
- Their use has grown dramatically in the last five years.
- Today, more high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes.
- The use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults.
Brain Development - E-cigarettes and Youth Don't Mix:
- Adolescent years are times of significant brain development.
- Brain development begins during the growth of the fetus in the womb and continues through childhood and to about age 25.
- Nicotine exposure during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and harm the developing brain.
Research into the toxicity of the chemicals that can be found in the flavoring of “e-juice’’ is worth reading (see American Lung Association article). There is also evidence to suggest that students who use these devices were more than four times as likely to move to regular cigarettes in 18 months. (CNBC article).
What can parents do to prevent vaping?
The Franklin Regional administration and staff are frustrated and disappointed by the growing use of these devices, especially considering the strides that have been made in the last decade to cut down on teen smoking. The marketing of these devices is powerful and arguably geared toward a younger audience.
We hope you will join us in educating our students about the risks of using these devices and about the consequences if they are brought to school. We hope that we can work together to combat this activity so students can remain focused on their studies and their positive futures.
If you need any assistance, please reach out to your school’s counseling office for help.
- National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse: Recreational Vaping 101 - What is Vaping?
- What Parents Need to Know About Different Vaping Devices
- American Cancer Society - E-Cigs, Flavored Tobacco & Your Kids: What You Should Know
- American Cancer Society - Is Any Type of Smoking Safe?
- Surgeon General - Surgeon General Calls E-Cigarettes Dangerous to Young People - Dec 8, 2016
- Surgeon General - Know the Facts: E-Cigarettes and Young People
- Popcorn Lung: A Dangerous Risk of Flavored E-Cigarettes
- CDC - Outbreak of Life-threatening Coagulopathy Associated with Synthetic Cannabinoids Use
- CDC - About synthetic cannabinoids