In the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the use of electronic cigarettes by young people in Vernon.
In fact, many health experts describe the use of E-Cigs by young adults as an epidemic. The common belief is that they are safe and non-addictive when compared to traditional tobacco cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes often called e-cigs, vapes or juuls are battery-operated devices designed to look similar to regular tobacco cigarettes. Like their conventional counterparts, many electronic cigarette cartridges (or juice) contain nicotine.
Way back in 2009, Health Canada advised Canadians not to purchase or use electronic smoking products, as these products pose health risks and have not been fully evaluated for safety, quality and efficacy by Health Canada.
Recent legislation bans the sale of vaping products to children under 18. Our practice in School District #22 (Vernon) forbids the use of all vaping products at school and on all school property. Accordingly, any student in possession of a vape may be suspended and the vape will be confiscated. Our goal with this practice is to protect the health of our young people.
E-Cigarettes are not safe. Research at John Hopkins Hospital (2018) reports that they contain many different harmful substances including nicotine. Nicotine causes harm to the developing adolescent brain. Vapes and E-Cigs contain cancer-causing chemicals, ultra-fine particles and heavy metals. The vape created by use of E-Cigs is dangerous to bystanders, much like second-hand smoke.
Research also shows that many young people who use vapes are more likely to consume traditional tobacco cigarettes in the future. It is important for families to frequently discuss drug and alcohol issues and establish a no-use policy.
Doug Rogers, Substance Abuse Prevention Counsellor, SD22, Vernon