From Sue Schy, Bigelow School Nurse
They’re disguised to look like a permanent marker or a flash drive. They come in flavors like mango, vanilla cupcake, strawberry margarita and pina colada. They’re electronic cigarettes – also known as e-cigarettes, vape pens, e-hookah, e-juice, e-smoke and more. Using them is vaping, “juuling,” or e-smoking.
We want students and families to have the information they need to talk about preventing and stopping this unhealthy behavior. A 2016 report from the U.S. Surgeon General says:
- E-cigarettes contain harmful ingredients including nicotine, which can cause addiction and can harm the developing brain.
- The effects of nicotine exposure during youth and young adulthood can be long-lasting and can include lower impulse control and mood disorders.
- The nicotine in e-cigarettes and other tobacco products can prime young brains for addiction to other drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine.
- Even e-cigarettes that don’t contain nicotine can be harmful because the vapor contains flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust; and heavy metals.
In Newton, a city ordinance passed in 2014 prohibited use of e-cigarettes anywhere the state’s workplace smoking law applies – restaurants, businesses and schools. The ordinance also prohibits Newton retailers from selling flavored products, and requires individuals buying cigarettes and e-cigarettes to be at least 21 years old. We know young people sometimes get these products from older friends or family members, or order them online.
You may have seen or heard that the Newton high school principals sent a letter to families about e-cigarettes. If you missed it, it’s posted on the School Health website, along with other helpful information about talking with kids about e-cigarettes: www.newtonma.gov/schoolhealth