Vaping 101 for Families: Know the dangers and know the lingo

man in hoodie vaping

Last week Ohio governor Mike DeWine issued a release to schools regarding the vaping epidemic sweeping the nation and schools in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there was a 78% increase in high school student use from 2017 to 2018 (48% increase for middle school students during that time span).

As of today, in the wake of the CEO of Juul stepping down earlier this morning, there have been 10 confirmed cases in the state of Ohio of severe pulmonary illness likely due to vaping according to DeWine.

Numbers aside, from pods to Juul’s there is a lot of new terminology out there for parents to be aware of when it comes to talking with their kids about the dangers of vaping.

  • Juul – an e-cigarette company and brand. Devices are charged in a USB port (often charging in computer ports for ease of use). A Juul takes flavored liquid cartridges called pods.

  • Pods – come in a variety of flavor liquids and are inserted into e-cigarettes to produce different nicotine flavors. Some pods contain synthetic marijuana and come in flavors such as mango or mint.

  • Vaping – the act of inhaling vapor produced by an e-cigarette or similar device.

  • e-liquid – Often found to have toxic metals in the mixture, this “usually contains a propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin-based liquid with nicotine, flavoring and other chemicals and metals, but not tobacco” – centeronaddiction.org.

  • THC – the abbreviation of the molecule tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s mind-altering effects found in the cannabis plant. THC laced products and liquids can be found in some pods.

From a school standpoint, both Circleville Middle School and Circleville High School utilize marketing materials from ‘The Real Cost’ campaign from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, our local county health commission, and “Start Talking Ohio’s” drug-free campaign from Ohio.gov in our buildings and through school social media.

“It is important for families to monitor their student’s health and be on the lookout for signs of vaping,” said school nurse Jamie McKeivier. “Symptoms can look like a cough, shortness of breath, or chest pains at which point a student should see the school nurse or a medical professional.  If left untreated it can lead to serious lung issues as we have seen in cases across the state and country.”

Additionally, as brands of vapes and substance mixtures continue to evolve, we have clarified school policy in our student handbooks regarding possession, distribution, sale, and use of vapes in our schools and the consequences of such, specifically at the middle and high school level.

The Circleville City School District’s Board of Education is committed to providing students, staff, and visitors with a tobacco and smoke-free environment (po7434). The negative health effects of tobacco use for both users and nonusers, particularly in connection with second hand smoke, are well established. Further, providing a non-smoking and tobacco-free environment is consistent with the responsibilities of teachers and staff to be positive role models for our students.

For more information on warning signs, research, and health effects related to vaping and juuling, visit the RealCost.betobacco.free.hhs.gov.