Specialist talks about harms of e-cigarettes in youth

 

September 4, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

E-cigarette items are displayed Tuesday during a presentation at Havre High School.

Havre Public Schools hosted an electronic cigarette presentation Tuesday evening at Havre High School to educate the staff, faculty and parents about what defines an e-cigarette and the harm from them, as well as providing awareness of more tobacco use in teens.

"I am reminding people that we lose almost half a million people every year to cigarette smoking," Montana Office of Public Instruction Tobacco Prevention Specialist Kris Minard said. "It is still the number one preventable cause of death in our country."

According to http://www.cancer.gov, an e-cigarette is defined as "a device that has the shape of a cigarette, cigar, or pen and does not contain tobacco. It uses a battery and contains a solution of nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals, some of which may be harmful. When electronic cigarettes are used, the nicotine solution turns into a mist that can be inhaled into the lungs."

An electronic cigarette or a marijuana tool can also be known as a Darth Vaper Box, homemade box, JUUL vape, bongs, glass blunts, JUUL, pill bottle pipe, pen pipe, bottle pipe, can piple, a grinder, a tool pipe and a TP pipe.

The Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 2019 data showed of 58 percent of Hill County teens and 36 percent of pre-teens have reported vaping. On the same the survey, data showed 75 percent of Hill County youth who use marijuna started at age 14 or younger.


Minard said that 8 out of 100 children in Montana say in the survey that they are cigarette smokers.

Traditional tobacco products are cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos and smokeless, or chewing, tobacco.

Vapor systems like JUUL are referred to as electronic nicotine delivery systems. 

JUUL and many similar products have four main parts: a mouthpiece, a tank which holds the e-juice or pod, an atomizer that heats the juice up and the lithium battery.

"The thing they don't do is make vapor; they make an aerosol is what they are making," Minard said. "It has tiny metallic particulates in it, but there is no combustion and no burning it is just heating, so it doesn't have the tar that a cigarette has because there is no burning."

Minard presented data showing Montana has a high rate of students using e-cigarettes. In 2015, 44.9 percent of U.S. high school students had used them compared to 51.1 percent of Montana high school students. In 2017, 42.2 percent of U.S. high school students used in electronic vapor products compared to 46.6 percent of Montana students.


The comparison data for 2019 has yet to be determined.

Minard also showed that in 2019, 30.2 percent of Montana high school students use electronic vape products.

The 2019 Montana survey reported students who are using marijuana before age 15 are three times more likely to leave school by age 15. Along with that, people who are frequent, persistent marijuana users who began using as youth can experience an eight point drop in IQ, lowering intelligence permanently.

The survey found adolescent marijuana use is at its highest level in 30 years and today's teens are more likely to use marijuana than tobacco.

The National Youth Tobacco Survey that collected data between 2017-2018 reported 78 percent of high school students use tobacco and 48 percent current use among middle school.

Products like the JUUL and vapes were created for the goal to help people stop smoking. The JUUL official website lists its mission statement as to "improve the lives of the world's one billion smokers by eliminating cigarettes."  

Adam Bowen and James Monsees co-founded JUUL in 2017. 

"As scientists, product designers and engineers, we believe that vaping can have a positive impact when used by smokers and can have a negative impact when used by non-smokers. Our goal is to maximize the positive and reduce the negative," http://www.juul.com


In December 2018, the company Altria purchased 35 percent of JUUL for $12.8 billion which increased the value of JUUL to $38 billion.

Minard said people need to remember that e-cigarettes are not harmless.

"We ask them (the students) to remember three things: we ask them to remember that nicotine is addictive especially for the adolescent brain, it is not a harmless water vapor, and that safer does not mean safe," Minard said.

Havre High School Vice Principal Pax Haslem said that if students are caught with a JUUL or other e-cigarette product the student will receive three days of in-school suspension and will be required to meet with a Bullhook Community Health Center addiction specialist throughout that suspension period then meeting with them once a week, then once a month, and so on.

Minard said there needs to be a balance between helping people and tempting kids with products that unfortunately have become cool once again.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

 

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