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What is being done to combat youth vaping – News – The Repository


Vaping, using an e-cigarette or other vaping device, is becoming more and more popular with middle school and high school students. It is referred to as “vaping” because tiny clouds of vapor are produced when using the devices. Many types of e-cigarettes are available, often looking and feeling like a regular cigarette, while other brands are becoming more prevalent with youth because of their small size and different shape, looking more like a USB device.

E-cigarettes are battery powered and deliver nicotine through a liquid “e-juice,” which is heated to a vapor by the devices. The liquid comes in a variety of flavors such as mint, fruit and bubble gum. Assuming the liquid used in vaping only contains water and flavoring, many are unaware that the amount of nicotine in the liquid can be the same, or even more than, the amount found in cigarettes. This is one reason they mistakenly think vaping is not dangerous.

Since the beginning of this school year, Kris Hickey, an Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant from ACCADA, and Libby Edwards, respiratory therapist from UH Samaritan Medical Center, have been visiting students in area schools. Kris and Libby discuss the current vape epidemic and provide facts about all forms of nicotine use, life-long addiction, and life-altering illnesses that can result.

During class, there is open discussion about the students’ view of different uses of nicotine. They discuss the latest statistics from the CDC about vaping illnesses and deaths caused by EVALI (Electric Cigarette or Vape Acquired Lung Illness). As part of the class, students pass around sample jars of tar and sputum that collect in the lungs from smoking. They also evaluate the ingredients listed on an FDA regulated pack of gum vs. unregulated bottle of vaping juice. A demonstration of normal saline being vaped vs. vape juice being vaped shows students the thick viscous residue that remains in a sponge (representing the lung). This gives students a memorable visual representation of what remains in the lungs after vaping. The students are also given a blind survey to fill out about their own experimentation with nicotine products, how they obtain the products and frequency of nicotine exposure they experience.

The results of these independent surveys conducted by Kris and Libby with grades 5 through 12 are very sobering. Ashland County students are experimenting and using these products above the national average when compared with the CDC’s nationwide statistics. A recent community health needs assessment, championed by UH Samaritan Medical Center, the City of Ashland, the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Ashland and the Health Department, revealed similar results. A troubling 24% of 6-12 grade students admitted to using electronic vaping products in the last 30 days, while 32% of 9-12 graders used electronic vaping products in the last 30 days. This, compared to the 2017 US average of 13%, is an alarming trend. Just as disturbing is that on average Ashland youth begin to smoke at just 12.7 years of age.

Since education about the dangers of vaping is a key component in reducing these alarming statistics, UH Samaritan Medical Center is presenting a Vaping/Tobacco Forum on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7pm at the UH Samaritan Administrative Services Building, 663 E. Main St. in Ashland. Kris and Libby will share educational information students receive as well as the current statistics and the latest recommendations from the CDC. To attend this forum, please register by calling Libby at 419-207-2303.

Kris and Libby also will be discussing the INDEPTH program which is available to all students of area schools. The INDEPTH program (Intervention for Nicotine Dependence: Education, Prevention, Tobacco and Health) is newly developed and tested by the American Lung Association. INDEPTH is a much more personal and in-depth program. It further educates students caught using these products during school or testing positive for nicotine during sports. These students will attend an evening class once a week for four weeks to understand their reasons for using tobacco products, and the consequences. It offers better alternatives and helps them set healthy realistic goals.

If you are unable to attend the Forum, there are many great resources to help you talk to your teen about vaping/tobacco use available from the American Lung Association. www.Lung.org. The CDC updates statistics weekly regarding vaping illnesses, deaths, and discoveries at www.cdc.gov .

— Steven Baldridge, RN, is staff educator at University Hospitals Samaritan.



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