Devices look harmless, but long-term effects of 'e-cigarettes' unknown
Parents can’t be faulted for wanting the best for their children. And as youth gain independence, parents want to keep their children safe from the world’s vices, while kids are looking to spread their wings and make their own choices.
Reporter McKenzie Moellering’s story last week on juuling and vaping was eye-opening for a lot of parents. The prevalence of vaping at our local high school surprised many a reader.
Studies are few and far between about the long-term effects of this new, mostly odorless type of “e-cigarette” smoking, but some of the ingredients point to potential damage to young lungs.
The devices used look similar to a pencil or a common USB computer memory device, so parents are often unaware of their presence.
Those of us old enough remember running into the store to buy cigarettes for our parents or grandparents. We remember our older siblings smoking cigarettes when the legal age was 18. (The drinking age was the same.) Some high schools even obliged the students with an outside smoking area.
But there’s been a lot of information about tobacco use that has changed our minds and legislators have responded with new laws and taxes to discourage it. Vaping and juuling, however, are still relatively new and no legislative action has taken place. Given our free-will society, that may likely only follow significant study that points to the ill effects.
Our school district has a three-step policy for underage users of confiscation, in-school suspension and referral to local law enforcement.
Parents point out that free will, especially for those at the legal age of 18, plays a part. But one parent pointed out they were clear with their child they did not want it to become a habit.
Some adults say vaping with a nicotine rush even helps them kick the habit of cigarette smoking. Guess there’s even a silver lining in a vape cloud.
But much like cartoon characters used to be used in cigarette advertisements (remember Joe Camel?) these companies use sweet flavors to appeal to younger users.
But as the article pointed out, a “pod” for a Juul device contains a significant amount of nicotine and information is scarce about potential health risks. School Resource Officer Chris Ayala said some students experience wheezing and one athlete was quoted in a school survey as saying he was out of breath during athletics shortly afterward.
Yes, kids will always push the envelope with their parents as to acceptable behavior. Through last week’s article, we hoped to raise awareness of this relatively new trend with potential bad future effects.
Even though these are legal devices for ages 18 and up, it’s important that parents be aware of use by adolescents.
Ayala holds informational meetings with parents to explain these devices, how they are used, and other concerns. Officer Ayala may be reached at 830-997-7551.