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Cerro Gordo Health Department says current youth vaping use is alarming


This news story was published on March 28, 2019.
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MASON CITY –  The U.S. Surgeon General and the FDA sent out recent statements indicating youth vaping is now an epidemic. Just last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report indicating the increased use of vaping/e-cigarettes has virtually erased any progress we’ve made in prior years in preventing youth tobacco use. E-cigarette (or vaping) use increased from 11.7% to 20.8% among high school students and from 3.3% to 4.9% among middle school students from 2017 to 2018.1

Youth in North Iowa are not immune to this epidemic.  A recent survey of nearly 550 local youth revealed 42% have tried vaping. The survey also revealed that 1 in 4 youth vape on a regular basis. It’s been found that vaping use is widespread throughout the student body and most have inaccurate or unreliable information about vaping.

So what is vaping you might ask? Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling aerosol or vapor produced by a vape device. Many teens and young adults also refer to this as “JUULING” due to the rise in a popular vape device called JUUL.

Is vaping safe? No. Vaping isn’t considered safe for teens and young adults, especially since their brains are still developing. Long-term studies on vaping have not been conducted due to it being new to the market, however, what we do know is:

  • Nearly all tobacco product use begins during youth and young adulthood.
  • Youth who vape are 4 times more likely to begin smoking cigarettes.
  • Tobacco product use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States.
  • There is no FDA oversight of manufacturing vaping/e-cigarette products, which means there is no oversight regarding the potential harmful ingredients put in them.2
  • JUUL products (75% of the vape marketing shares) ALWAYS contain nicotine.
  • One JUUL pod has the same amount of nicotine as one pack of cigarettes.
  • Nicotine can harm teen brain development which can have negative implications to learning, memory, attention, and behavior problems.3
  • Nicotine primes the adolescent brain for addiction.4

The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health recently began education presentations with area youth about the risks of vaping and will continue to do so throughout the remainder of the school year.

“We also encourage parents to familiarize themselves with vaping dangers and begin talking with their kids about the risks of vaping”, states Penny McCaslin, Tobacco Program Coordinator for the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health.

According to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, there are some clues you can look for to see if your child is vaping.5

  • Equipment: you may see devices that look like flash drives or e-juice bottles.
  • Online purchases or packages in the mail: many youth are ordering these products online.
  • Smell: the scent from vaping can be faint, however if you catch a whiff of flavoring without an obvious source, take note of it.
  • Increased thirst or nose bleeds: e-cigarette products have the effect of drying out the mouth and nasal passages leading to an increase in water consumption or nose bleeds.
  • Vaping lingo: Take note of the following terms in their text messages or online searches or correspondence. Locally in North Iowa, terms such as “let’s hit it”, “Juuling”, “rip some cloud”, “badge”, and “teardrop” are terms related to vaping. You can also look at their Instagram or other social media accounts for mentions or photos.

Parents need to be educated about vaping and have conversations with their kids about the dangers of vaping. Understanding why youth start vaping and the attractiveness to it will aide in having these conversations and possibly addressing the arguments for vaping. One way to help your child prepare for a possibly vaping peer pressure situation is to role play those situations. Help them develop refusal skills, things to say, and develop a plan for what they can do to remove themselves from the situation.

The most important thing parents can do to ensure their child does not begin to vape, is to be a good role model by being vape and tobacco-free and encouraging them to do the same. If you do vape, keep your supplies and equipment secure and inaccessible to them.

There is a Quit Vaping Hotline to help youth that want to quit vaping and parents that want to help them. It’s a first of its kind, text messaging youth e-cigarette quit program.  People can text QUIT to (202) 804-9884.  It’s all anonymous and free of charge. Messages are tailored by age groups to give appropriate recommendations for teens, young adults, and parents.

For more information on vaping contact the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health, 641-421-9300 or visit www.cghealth.com.

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2 Responses to Cerro Gordo Health Department says current youth vaping use is alarming

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 2, 2019 at 3:28 am

    The solution is to stop selling these products, and tobacco to underage people.

    However, there are too many adults, who haven’t got many brain cells, buying tobacco products (along with alcohol) for kids. Authorities need to focus on the existing laws, and demand the Legislature pass stricter laws increasing the penalties on adults who contribute to the delinquency of minors.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 30, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    This stuff is more dangerous than cigarettes. It should be banned immediately.