E-Cigarette Use Surges Among Teens
The Minnesota Department of Health says that in the last three years, there has been a nearly 50 percent increase in e-cigarette use among high school students. Now, schools are starting to take notice.
E-cigarettes are promoted as being a safe alternative to smoking. However, the Minnesota Health Department, and the Food and Drug Administration, have raised concerns because the liquid in e-cigarettes contain nicotine and a variety of other chemicals that could lead to addiction.
Health officials also fear that e-cigarettes could lead teens to using other drugs.
The state’s largest high school is not immune to the uptick in e-cigarette use. CCX News went there to see the impact.
“I think a lot of it has to do with peer pressure,” said Kathryn Bennett, Wayzata High School’s dean of students. “They see their peers doing it. They think, well if they’re doing it, I might as well just try it.”
Bennett went on to say that because e-cigarettes have more nicotine than a regular cigarette, the chances of becoming addicted are ‘pretty high.’
Students are found vaping on campus on a weekly basis. It’s not a big surprise to Bennett, considering that e-cigarettes smell fruity, and they’re easy for students to conceal.
Wayzata has launched efforts to educate parents on e-cigarettes so they know what the vape pens and juice bottles look like.
Educate Rather than Punish
If school officials catch a student vaping on campus, the student isn’t punished. Instead, they work to provide the student with help.
“So if a student is caught vaping, we bring in their counselor, social worker, school resource officer, parents and our chemical health specialist to talk about what we can do to support them,” Bennett said. “Because clearly we’re more concerned about helping them through whatever it is that they need, rather than the disciplinary action. So it’s more of a restorative piece.”
The Minnesota Department of Health has a list of resources for parents, schools, and health care providers to educate people on the risks of e-cigarette use.
For more information, you can go to the department of health website.