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North Tama hosts vaping presentation

November 21, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor (cjeilers@traerstarclipper.com) , Traer Star-Clipper

Concerned parents were in attendance for a presentation on the dangers of vaping/e-cigarettes held in the MPR at North Tama Jr/Sr High on Thursday, Nov. 7, sponsored by Iowa State Extension and Outreach.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine or other substances in an aerosol form according to Erika Lippman, a Community Prevention Educator and presenter for the evening. Her presentation covered the "epidemic" sweeping the nation as 3.6 million youth (one in five high schoolers) used e-cigarettes in 2018 according to the U.S. Surgeon General. The major draws for youth are flavored vapor, which they believe is simply water vapor.

"I would say users believe there's no harm associated with e-cigarettes and unfortunately it takes seeing something bad happening to another person before thinking anything would happen to them as well," Lippmann said. "E-cigarettes are marketed as a sensation tool for someone for someone already smoking cigarettes, but with youth they are going straight to them. They love the fruity flavor and enjoy the buzz."

Article Photos

Erika Lippman, a Community Prevention Educator, sorted through the myths and facts of vaping during a presentation on Thursday, Nov. 7.

However, research by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has found in 2018 that cartridges used for vaping may cause lung cancer and throat irritation, wheezing, shortness of breath, dizziness and damage the brain. The National Institute of Health also found that second hand smoke from e-cigarettes may contain metals such as zinc, nickel, chromium, lead, silver and manganese. A 2018 study at the University of California in 2018 concluded the following featured in Lippmann's presentation:

"Although e-cigarettes vapor may produce fewer toxins than tobacco smoke, our findings can be used to challenge the idea that e-cigarette vapor is safe, because many of the volatile organic compounds we carcinogenic. Messaging to teens should include warnings about the potential risk from toxic exposure to carcinogenic compounds generated by these products."

A survey answered by 125 students in the secondary showed that 18 students admitted to vaping. 38 students admitted to knowing someone who vaped at the school but were reluctant to inform administration. 61 students also believed that those who were vaping were using "just flavoring" and 45 students said they knew a peer vaping marijuana or another substance.

"I've learned there are a surprising number of students involved in this e-cigarette epidemic and are misinformed," Laura Taylor, a parent to two daughters in the school district. "It would be beneficial for everyone to get involved in educating our students."

While the survey was not completed by all students in the secondary, Lippmann was pleased with the "honesty" shown in the survey.

"With any survey you do in school, you're going to have people who think it's funny or don't want to admit anything," Lippmann said. "I thought the results were really good because of a lot of honest answers. They're saying they see it in school and they know it's harmful, even the ones admitting to vaping."

Being caught vaping does come with its consequences in the state. According to Chapter 453A of the Iowa, there several different offenses regarding vapor products. The first part of the code focuses on an individual who "sells, gives, or supplies a vapor product under 18." A person who violates the law is guilar of a simple misdemeanor. However, an individual "who is an employee of a retailer" who provides a minor with vapor product will be assessed a fine of $100 for the first offense and eight hours of community service, $250 for a second offense and 12 hours of service, and $500 for third offense and 16 hours of community service. A minor who is caught violating the law will be assessed a fine of $50 for the first offense, $100 for a second offense and a $250 fine for a third offense.

An article published in the New York Times and featured in Lippman's presentation detailed how Juul, who produce devices for vaping, paid a school to allow them to present a "healthy lifestyle' program when reality the company was promoting their product to high school students. North Tama has focused their attention on addressing the issue of vaping and see events such as Thursdays as a step towards prevention. Over his time as an educator and administrator, North Tama Secondary Principal Andrew Meister has learned more "in depth" about vaping over the years.

"It's overall understanding how bad it can be and knowing you have a responsibility to educate people about the dangers of vaping," Meister said. "The best thing to do is to open a conversation. The school can open a conversation like we are today: having parents and community come in to learn what conversations to have with their kids and know what to look for. We appreciate everyone coming out to be active as possible."

Those in attendance asked questions about prevention, detection and were shown examples of what products looked like as several items look as harmless as a flash drive.

"The only way we can rally as a community is if we show up to these events," Taylor said. "Being naive about it and saying 'it's not my child' isn't going to do any of us good. I can hopefully help other parents be educated and help stop this."

For more information about vaping and e-cigarettes, email Erika Lippmann at erika.lippmann@pathwaysb.org.

 
 
 

 

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