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Nurses' Notes

    With the recent Monitoring the Future Study release saying that nearly one in three 12th grade students have used a vaping device in the past year, it’s vital that parents are informed of the dangers that can result from vaping.
    Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, referred to as vapor, produced by an e-cigarette or a similar device.  It’s becoming more popular among teens than using regular cigarettes, especially since vaping devices can be used for anything from flavors like mango, mint, and tutti frutti, to flavorings containing nicotine or the chemical compound in Marijuana that produces a high.

    What are the risks?
    There are 3 major risk factors that parents should be concerned about with vaping.

    1.    Vaping is often marketed to kids, downplaying the dangers to them.  Teens  think that because e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco that they are safe.

    2.    The chemicals used in the vaping liquids can be more concentrated and dangerous.  Inhaling from a vape pen or e-cigarette, especially with one containing nicotine or THC, can intensify the users high and can also amplify the chemical’s side effects.  Vaping is quite new and there are hundreds of brands out there.  There isn’t a lot of firm information about what the exact chemicals might be in that particular vape liquid.  But, even beyond nicotine and THC, synthetic chemicals that make up these liquids (including “herbal incense” like spice and synthetic marijuana) expose the lungs to a variety of chemicals, which could include carcinogens and toxic metal nanoparticles from the device itself. These chemicals could make their way into young lungs, causing irritation and a smoker’s cough.  They could also damage the inside of the mouth and create sores.  

    3.    Vaping may make the transition to cigarette smoking easier in adolescence.  In 6 different studies, the findings concluded that the risk of smoking increases 4 times if a teen vapes versus a teen that does not smoke.  During another study it was discovered that out of more than 2,000 10th grade students, one in five of those students who had a regular vaping habit at the beginning of the study, were smoking traditional cigarettes by the end of the study at least 3 times a month.  Another 12% of routine vapers smoked at least one day a month.  Less than 1% of the students who didn’t try vaping reported smoking even one day a month at the end of the study, by comparison.  

What can parents do?
    Make it clear to your children that you don’t approve of them vaping or using e-cigarettes, NO MATTER WHAT! Start talking with your children.  As angry or as frustrated as you may feel, keep reminding yourself that you must speak and listen from a place of love, support and concern.  Explain to them that however they use nicotine or THC in any form, they are at risk for long-lasting effects of these products. These products can affect the development of their brain’s reward system and continued use can lead to an addiction.  The likelihood of addiction increases considerably for those who start young, as well as leading to other health problems down the road. We immunize, require seat belts in the car and insist on them wearing sunscreen, so don’t shrug off vaping or JUULing as “just experimenting”! Learn about the unique risk of teens using substances.

Remember to Get a Flu Shot!
    Greene County Public Health will once again be giving flu shots to families during parent-teacher conferences.  The dates, places and times are listed below:

Tuesday and Thursday, October 16 & 18, 2018 at the Greene County Middle School 4:00-7:30 PM

Tuesday and Thursday, November 13 & 15, 2018 at Greene County Elementary, 4:00-7:30 PM

    No appointment is needed, just walk in!  Remember to bring your insurance card with you!

Ann Hicks, Mary Pedersen & Jill Wanninger