On Thursday evening, representatives from Lincoln County Schools (LCS) will join Lincoln Charter School when they host a family resource evening highlighting the widespread use of e-cigarettes and vaping among young people.

The use of electronic cigarettes among school-aged children has increased at an alarming rate. According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, in 2018, 20.8% of high school students and 4.9% of middle school students were current users of electronic cigarettes. This is an increase from the previous year of 78 percent and 48 percent for high school and middle school students, respectively.

According to the CDC, smoking among high school students is still low. This is in part due to regulations put in place by the FDA after the enactment of the Tobacco Control Act (TCA) in 2009. The TCA has imposed restrictions on the marketing of tobacco to children. Among those restrictions was the ban on flavored tobacco products, excluding menthol, which masks the harsh taste of tobacco.

At the end of 2018, the FDA announced a plan to ban menthol flavors in cigarettes as well as most flavors in electronic cigarettes. However, it could take years for the plan to make its way through the FDA’s complex regulatory process.

According to LCS Associate Superintendent Dr.Aaron Allen, authorities are seeing the same trends in decreasing smoking, but also a trend in increasing e-cigarette use among high school and college students. Lincoln County. The authorities are starting to see some use of electronic cigarettes among students in the second cycle of elementary school.

Marketing to children has been a long-standing tobacco industry strategy. In 1997, Minnesota sued the tobacco industry. They cited a document titled “NFO Preference Share Date ‘Youth’ Market” written by JH McCain of William Esty Advertising Co. from March 1973. Letter written to RJ Reynolds’ Marketing Department, taken from The Marketing Collection of The company, revealed a targeted effort to reach children: “Many manufacturers have ‘studied’ the 14-20 market in the hope of uncovering the ‘secret’ to the instant popularity that some brands enjoy to the almost complete exclusion of others. Creating a “fad” in this market can be a godsend. “

Currently, manufacturers of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are required to report their marketing and promotion expenses to the Federal Trade Commission. While the FDA only recently required marketing records from e-cigarette companies and delayed regulation until 2022.

Bonanza is the right word to describe the popularity of JUUL. Launched in 2015, JUUL Labs, Inc. now dominates the electronic cigarette company with over 70% market share. Called the iPhone of e-cigarettes, JUUL is not much bigger than a USB stick. It can be used discreetly with little odor. JUUL pods come in flavors like mango, mint, or cucumber, making them popular with young people. The pods are also available with the option of 3 or 5% nicotine content.

“Cigarettes are cigarettes and lighters are lighters,” Allen said. “But these electronic cigarettes come in all shapes and sizes. They look like everyday devices and that’s the other challenge from the perspective of parents, as well as our teachers and administrators, to be able to understand what to look for.

In a 2016 Surgeon General report, 63% of JUUL users aged 15 to 24 were unaware that the product still contained nicotine. JUUL uses nicotine salts, which can be potentially more addictive due to their higher concentration. A cartridge of e-liquid can sometimes be the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes. Some students use 2-3 cartridges per day, which is equivalent to smoking as many packets of combustible cigarettes per day.

It is well known that nicotine is a highly addictive substance. For young people, it is particularly dangerous. Research has shown that it has an effect on key brain receptors, making them more susceptible to nicotine addiction and may lead to greater vulnerability to addiction to other drugs.

Luka Kinard, 15, who will be speaking at the event, knew he was out of control when he started selling his clothes to fund his habit of $ 150 a week, four pods a day. After a crisis, Kinard’s parents treated the problem like an addiction problem. He spent 40 days in a drug rehab center before you can quit smoking.

It’s not just about the nicotine content of electronic cigarettes or “vapes”. Vaping may be a misnomer. Electronic cigarettes produce an aerosol. Vapor is a substance in the form of vapor, but an aerosol is a colloidal suspension of particles in the air. This is done by heating a liquid solution. Researchers have identified harmful or potentially harmful substances in e-liquids. Substances can include administration solvents and propylene glycol, which can cause dry mouth and upper respiratory infections. In flavors, diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust fumes, have been found.

North Carolina has a 100% tobacco-free school policy. According to Allen, electronic cigarettes are considered a tobacco product. Under the current code of conduct, students found in possession of a student can be suspended from school on the first offense.

Electronic cigarette devices can also be used to vape liquid THC, one of the active components in marijuana. LCS is investigating potential policy changes that could treat all electronic cigarette devices like drug paraphernalia, which could result in up to 10 days of suspension from school. If the liquid from a confiscated device is found to contain THC, the student could face charges of possession of a controlled substance.

LCS is exploring avenues in collaboration with the Department of Health, athletic coaches and state agencies to provide vaping education to student-athletes. LCS may also organize its own public briefing on the matter in the coming months.

“Parents need to be aware that we see this in all walks of life, all socioeconomic groups, all races, boys and girls,” Allen said. “There isn’t a separate group using it, it’s at all levels. All parents should be aware of the dangers and have this conversation with their children. “


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