Most of this information was part of a letter that went out to all parents of students at Haddam Killingworth Middle School on Feb. 5, 2019, so that people in the community know what to be on the lookout for, whether you’re a grandparent, aunt, uncle, family friend, or neighbor.
We need a community approach to ensure that our children and families are well-educated about the dangers associated with vaping and smoking. Vaping devices have only been around for a few years, and yet we are seeing an increase in diseases that are directly attributable to use of ENDS (e.g., wet lung, smokers’ cough, wounds that won’t heal).
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) are designed to bring nicotine or THC oil (the substance in marijuana) into the blood quickly, without the tar or smoke traditionally associated with a cigarette or marijuana. However, they are not safer than cigarettes due to the nicotine and other chemicals that are inhaled through the vapor. They might be scented like cotton candy, pineapple, cherry, or other flavors that are appealing to young people. Just like traditional cigarettes, it is illegal to sell them to children under the age of 18, and it is illegal for a minor to even “possess” electronic nicotine delivery systems or vapor products in Connecticut.
ENDS come in a variety of forms and often resemble everyday objects that would not necessarily cause you to suspect that your child may be using them. There are devices that look like USB drives, guitar picks, cell phones and pens, and others that look like cigarettes, pipes or cigars. They are easily accessible on Amazon.com or purchased locally.
This is a very timely topic considering that the latest statistics regarding teen tobacco and ENDS use were recently released by the Centers for Disease Control, and these statistics are startling. In Connecticut, 3.5% of high school students smoke traditional tobacco products and 14.7% use ENDS. Use of ENDS is now at epidemic proportions among teens and some students start their use of these products during their middle school years. Here are two links with information to help you talk with your children about cigarettes and vaping:
In addition, the State of Connecticut spends $0 and ranks 49th out of 50 in tobacco prevention spending despite bringing in $500.8 million dollars in tobacco revenue. Comparatively, the Tobacco Industry spends $73 million on marketing in the State of Connecticut alone, much of which is targeted at our children. “Published research studies have found that kids are twice as sensitive to tobacco advertising as adults and are more likely to be influenced to smoke by cigarette marketing than by peer pressure. One-third of underage experimentation with smoking is attributable to tobacco company advertising.” (https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/problem/toll-us/sources)
Talk about it with teens you know. Make sure they understand the dangers to their health, and the possibility of addiction.
The legal aspect of vaping by minors was added by our editorial staff.