The negative health effects of smoking have been well documented for decades. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that youth tobacco smoking has steadily decreased. However, against this successful trend a new threat has emerged, vaping. The Psychiatric News cited a recent survey that found that 13% of eighth graders, 24% of 10th graders, and 28% of high school seniors reported using some form of vaporizer in the last year. According to this same survey, young people are using vaporizers to deliver nicotine, marijuana/hash oil, and unknown substances. While many adults think of vapes as delivering flavoring they can also be used as drug paraphernalia.
Last spring Cabarrus County Schools changed its policy regarding the use or possession of e-cigarettes and vapes and now classifies these items as drug paraphernalia. As a result, students found in possession or use of vapes have been receiving 10-day suspensions. In addition, these students and their parents are required to attend an eight-hour class designed to increase healthy decision making and decrease substance use.
This week, students will be reminded of the disciplinary consequences of using vapes on campus as well as the health considerations for the use of these devices. We want students and families to know that we have seen first-hand that the health effects can be terrifying to us as parents and educators. This is a serious issue and we want everyone to understand the potential gravity of the use of these devices.
The CDC offers a tip sheet for talking with young people about the use of vapes and E-cigarettes. The tip sheet gives advice on finding the right moment to open the dialogue, to answering challenging questions, and most importantly on keeping the conversation going. The tip sheet can be found at the link provided here.
Please take time to review the information provided through the links on this page. We encourage you to speak with your children about their ideas about the risks associated with vaping and share your concerns for their health and well-being.
For more information on Cabarrus County Schools repsonse to vapes earlier this calendar year please see the page listed here.
Graphic from the Psychiatric News,
January 19, 2018: American Psychiatric Association