One of the primary focuses of the Sterling Heights Drug Free Coalition is the epidemic sweeping through our community’s high schools known as ‘vaping’.
Vaping, or the use of e-cigarette products, is touted by manufacturers as the ‘safer alternative’ to traditional cigarette smoking.
Here’s a typical advertisement.
Emerging evidence of health risks
It is quickly becoming apparent that vaping isn’t as safe as the manufacturers would have us believe. People who vape typically become addicted to a mind altering chemical, nicotine, and the act of vaping requires the user to inhale foreign material into their lungs.
As the Chicago Tribune reported on August 22, 2019, a new mystery illness has arisen surrounding teenage vaping which has hospitalized 22 teenagers in Illinois alone. Some had to be placed on ventilators as part of their treatment.
A study released on August 20, 2019 shows that even non-nicotine vape products reduce blood flow after just one puff.
Diacetyl, a chemical known to cause a condition called ‘popcorn lung’ is present in e-cigarette emissions. The Surgeon General has expressed concern about the rise of the vaping phenomenon, and has officially declared vaping to be an epidemic.
Illegal for Minors, Still Used in High Schools
Although it is illegal for vaping products to be sold to or possessed by minors, the products have quickly and quietly taken the three high schools in Sterling Heights by storm. Nationally, teenage usage of vape products far outpaces that of cigarettes.
One reason for this is vaping is nearly odor free, and the devices are easily concealed. In addition, nicotine is not the only mind altering chemical now available via vaping: marijuana oils have become widely available, and they, too, are odor-free.
As many as 24% of 47,142 Arizona teenagers in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades polled in 2018 reported using concentrated THC vape products according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics on August 26, 2019. Your teenager might be dosing himself with either nicotine or THC in the high school restroom, and nobody may be aware of it except for his friends.
If the use of mind altering substances by teenagers isn’t bad enough, the Sterling Heights Drug Free Coalition’s concern is that vaping may very well prove to be just as destructive to health as cigarette smoking, if not more so.
For this reason, the Sterling Heights Drug Free Coalition is working with both Warren Consolidated Schools and Utica Community Schools to ensure that information is made available to people of high school age about the risks they are taking with their health.