Vaping - A Real Concern

Vaping - A Real Concern
Posted on 08/13/2019
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As reported in newspapers across the country and on local and national newscasts, E-cigarette use, or vaping, among teens has skyrocketed in recent years. The nation is now scrambling to find effective ways to discourage vaping and educate misinformed teens and their parents on the dangers of e-cigarette use in what the Federal Drug Administration is now calling an epidemic.

Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.

Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items.

E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol. The liquid used in e-cigarettes often contains nicotine and flavorings. This liquid is sometimes called “e-juice,” “e-liquid,” “vape juice,” or “vape liquid.”

Users inhale e-cigarette aerosol into their lungs. Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales it into the air. Although e-cigarettes do not produce smoke, breathing in vapor is not harmless. A 2018 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found conclusive evidence that in addition to nicotine, most e-cigarette products contain and emit numerous potentially toxic substances. 

The aerosol from e-cigarettes contains many potentially harmful chemicals, including lead and other heavy metals that can damage cells, causing lung and cardiovascular disease.  The flavorings may contain diacetyl, a chemical also linked to lung disease. E-cigarette devices can be used to deliver marijuana and other drugs.

Recently, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin treated eight teenagers with severe lung damage all of whom reported vaping in the months prior to being hospitalized. The teens had symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, cough and weight loss.  

“A health advisory has been issued by the State Health Officer to inform the public about the alarming statistics on current e-cigarette use among youth in Wisconsin,” explains Director of Leadership for Learning, Deidre Roemer. “According to the advisory, E-cigarette use among Wisconsin high school students increased 154% between 2014 and 2018. In 2014, just under 8% of Wisconsin high school students were using e-cigarettes. In 2018, that number has skyrocketed to 20% (or one out of every five students).”

One of the most popular brands of e-cigarettes is JUUL, a device shaped like a USB flash drive. Like other e-cigarettes, JUUL is a battery-powered device that heats a nicotine-containing liquid to produce an aerosol that is inhaled.  All JUUL e-cigarettes have a high level of nicotine. According to the manufacturer, a single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes. 

A newer vape device called a “dab” pen has also become a significant issue for teens across America.  This device can be filled with a nicotine and/or
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) based liquid.  THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects. Students having access to these devices and/or accessories and then obtaining cartridges with this high concentration of THC often experience adverse reactions if  they are taking prescription medications.  

“The use of E-cigarettes, dab pens, and JUUL products is strictly forbidden in school, on school grounds, or at school-sponsored activities,” adds Roemer. “
As a District, we want our students and parents to know the dangers of these devices. They can have devastating effects and should not be brought to school.”