CIRCLEVILLE — Pickaway County Public Health Department is warning residents about the dangers with vaping, especially with the practice being on the rise in young people.
The use of electronic cigarettes, or vaping, can come in various types, sizes and shapes but the danger in them is the same. Many of the devices contain nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. Marijuana is another common substance used in the devices.
According to Pickaway County Public Health Department, besides nicotine, e-cigarette aerosol that users breathe in can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including cancer-causing chemicals; heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead; volatile organic compounds which can adversely impact health; ultra-fine particles that can reach deep into lungs; and flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical used to give butter-like and other flavors that is linked to serious lung disease.
Nasandra Wright, Pickaway County Public Heath Commissioner said they’ve seen an increase with usage among students in Pickaway County.
“Within Pickaway County, we are also now observing a major uptick in the number of students within the school system using vaping devices,” she said. “The tragic death in Illinois reinforces the serious risks associated with e-cigarette products.”
Local schools are getting in on the act. At Teays Valley, students learn about vaping and the dangers of in health classes; at Logan Elm it’s also part of the D.A.R.E. programming; and in Circleville, they also combat it with “Club Future” Circleville’s chapter of the Drug Free Clubs of America.
“The District continues to talk to students about the dangers of vaping,” Tim Williams, superintendent of Logan Elm School District stated. “Our DARE program and health classes educate our students about vaping and other drugs. Most recently, Deputy Dale Thomas spoke to our parents and student athletes about the dangers associated with vaping at our fall athletic meetings.”
Evan Debo, communications director at Circleville City Schools, said they are using campaign-based methods to combat usage.
“There are many misconceptions out there about vaping, Juuls, and e-cigarettes,” Debo commented. “Both the Middle School and High School utilize marketing materials from ‘The Real Cost’ campaign from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, our local health commission led by Director Nasandra Wright, and “Start Talking Ohio’s” drug-free campaign from Ohio.gov in our buildings and through school social media.
“Additionally, as brands of vapes and substance mixtures continue to evolve, we have clarified school policy in our student handbooks regarding possession, distribution, sale, and use of vapes in our school and the consequences of such, specifically at the high school level,” he added.
Debo said they’ve also educated staff members on the devices since they can look similar to more innocuous items found in a school.
“With many cartridges and vape paraphernalia taking the form of look-a-like USB thumb drives that can fit in computers, I can recall that being a surprise to staff, including myself, when discussing what to look for in the classroom,” he added. “Whether it be in conversations at home, in school, or online, we believe in our schools playing an active role in facilitating discussion regarding student health and safety.”