On Tuesday, Oct. 29, Jennifer Haynes, program coordinator for the Northeast Kansas CDRR (Chronic Disease Risk Reduction) came and spoke to the students at Hiawatha Middle School about vaping.
Her presentation was a result of HMS Student Council’s promotion of Red Ribbon Week, an annual awareness campaign designed to encourage students to avoid drug, alcohol and tobacco use across the country. Her presentation was on the dangers of vaping and adolescents.
In her presentation, while the average cigarette use among high school students dropped by 73 percent from 2000 to 2017, in the past two years the use of e-cigarettes increased 78 percent. The reasons for this include the accessibility of e-cigarettes, the flavored pods, and its promotion on social media. She highlighted the dangers of vaping and dispelled the myths of this product. E-cigarettes contain nicotine; one Juul pod, for example, is the equivalent of 20 cigarettes.
The vapor released from this product contains volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, heavy metals, and cancer-causing chemicals. Haynes also discussed the dangers to adolescent health. It impacts brain chemistry in the developing brain, it can cause lung-related problems, and can increase impulsiveness as a student becomes addicted to the product. She recommended that students, their teachers, and especially their parents, become more aware of the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes and what they can do to our youth in the community.