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Vaping Info Session Supports Parents in Combating Youth Use

October 22, 2019

"Vaping: It's Not Just A Mist" Provides Range of Pertinent Information to Parents to Help Combat Dangerous Epidemic

Vaping Informational Session Photos Dozens of parents and community members learned about the dangers, signs, and tools of vaping at an information session presented by the Radnor High School Alliance for Safe Kids (ASK) on Friday, October 18.

"Vaping: It's Not Just A Mist" featured presenters Linda Schanne, chair of the Radnor Board of Health and Clinical Nurse Educator at Bryn Mawr Hospital, and Michael Blanche, a clinical social worker and expert in the field of prevention. Together, the experts provided a comprehensive review of vaping and associated facts and advice for families. Prior to the formal presentation, attendees were invited to view sample vaping devices, including the popular JUUL, and related paraphernalia displayed by RHS assistant principal Brett Thomas.

"We work in partnership with the Caron Foundation," Thomas said. "We have somebody here if a kid gets caught in school. We have a mandatory program that they go through."

Vaping is performed through the inhalation of an aerosol through a rechargeable electronic device that can look like an everyday object, such as a flash drive, and can often be charged via a USB port. The device produces this aerosol by heating a liquid or concentrate that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals.*

Most refills for vaping devices, commonly called "pods" or "carts" (short for cartridges), contain nicotine. Many can also contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The flavorings, such as mango, often included in the refills appeal to youth. Minimal smoke or smell accompanies the act of vaping, further contributing to ease of use.

"Seventeen-point-six percent of 8th-graders are vaping," Schanne reported, citing statistics from an accompanying presentation (view here). "Thirty-two-point-three percent of 10th graders and more than 37 percent of 12th-graders."

Schanne and Blanche noted that vaping among middle and high schoolers skyrocketed during 2017 and 2018, leading the U.S. Surgeon General to call the use of e-cigarette and vaping products among youth an epidemic. In 2018, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration showed that more than 3.6 million U.S. youth, inlcuding one in five high school students and one in 20 middle school students, were past-month e-cigarette users.

Recently, increased and widespread national attention has been given to the health dangers of vaping after 1,299 lung injury cases associated with the use of vaping products were reported to the CDC from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and one U.S. territory (as of October 8, 2019). Twenty-six deaths have also been confirmed in 21 states. All patients reported a history of using vaping products.

"Due to the higher concentrate of cannabis and the very small intense high of [vaping], last Spring on average we were hospitalizing one kid every other week," Blanche said.

(View the complete presentation from the meeting here, which includes more information on vaping terminology and paraphernalia; negative health implications; local businesses and online markets that sell vaping products; signs to look for in youth who may be vaping; and tips on talking to teens. View a September 15 letter from RTSD superintendent Ken Batchelor that addresses vaping here.)

*Schanne listed a range of harmful chemicals included in the ingredients in vaping liquids and concentrates, including Glycerin, Benzene, Formaldehyde, Acetone, Nickel, Chromium, Arsenic, Lead, Nickel, and Colbalt, among dozens of others (see slide 18).