Here’s what may be considered good news, from a recent post on the internet.
According to the website truthinitiative.org, a new survey determined “Quitting vaping is still top of mind for many young people entering into the New Year (and) nearly half of 15- to 24-year-olds surveyed who vape say they are considering trying to quit vaping as a New Year’s resolution.”
Additionally, per truthinitiative.org, a separate study – “the first nationally representative estimate of young people’s interest in quitting e-cigarettes – found that more than half (54.2 percent) of the current e-cigarette users among young people reported they intend to quit vaping.”
That’d likely be considered great news to Rio Rancho Public Schools, where vaping is considered a growing problem.
In an Oct. 28, 2021, RRPS Parent University presentation, “Dangers of E-Cigs,” a local panel of experts discussed e-cigarettes and vaping, answering questions from YouTube watchers.
As of that date, RRPS Executive Director of Safety and Security Sal Maniaci reported, RRPS had recorded 115 students using or in possession of vape pens, a number he said was probably “lower than what we’re actually experiencing with pens disposed of.”
Maniaci also said the majority of RRPS vapers caught are freshmen and sophomores.
The punishments depend on what’s been inhaled in the vape pen, with the harshest dealt out when testing reveals nicotine or narcotics. RRPS nurse Jo Sanchez said in the Oct. 28 presentation that she’d been seeing an increased level of nicotine in the vape pens, with some containing an amount comparable to what’s in an entire pack of cigarettes.
Maniaci said some students consume alcohol before coming to school, then enhance their “buzz” with a vape pen, which amplifies the effects.
The problem extends into the middle schools, and a few vape pens have been discovered in elementary buildings. Some of the vape pens are disguised and look like harmless flash drives or even inhalers used by asthmatics.
Students using vape pens or e-cigs with drugs – even the deadly fentanyl is an occasional additive – aren’t going to do their best in the classroom. Also, vaping can compound behavioral issues in students.
Sometimes, the drugs within the vape pens are fruit- or candy-flavored, possibly giving unwary students the idea they’re not consuming something harmful, or disguising the cloud they leave behind.
In some cases, vapers became disoriented or lost consciousness and the school had to call for an ambulance to transport a student to a nearby hospital.
But the long-term effects also concern administrators, as adolescents’ brains develop until they reach age 25, and there are negative effects on the brain, as well as the lungs. Also, vape pen usage can lead to future addictions to more harmful drugs.
New Mexico State Police Lt. Alvino Vigil said he caught his son using a vape pen because his eyes were “glazed,” and one of the telltale signs can be an odor left behind or around a user. Vigil said his daughter, who attends an Albuquerque high school, told him she sees students vaping frequently in restrooms.
Other vaping sites, Maniaci said, were in the school parking lots and on campuses but outside the range of security cameras.
“There are so many bad things that come out of it,” he said. “The kids just don’t know what they’re putting into their body … and so neither do their parents.
“I really cringe every time that I find out that an athlete is using the vape pen,” Maniaci said, “because it has such drastic effects on their lungs into their respiratory system.”
It’s a disturbing trend for him, after noticing a decrease in recent years of teens smoking cigarettes on campuses, and now vaping is “creating a new generation of nicotine users.”
Maniaci said it’s “crucial” for parents to talk with their students about the effects – and he said parents should searching backpacks and children’s rooms if they have suspicions.
Vape pens can be damaging even to non-teens, as infants and toddlers may innocently pick up a vape pen lying within reach; nationally, it was said in Parents University, about half of the calls to poison-control centers for e-cigs are to treat children age 5 and younger for swallowing, breathing or absorbing the liquid within.
As of the middle of last week, the YouTube episode had 68 viewers, although Beth Pendergrass, RRPS’s chief communications, strategy and engagement officer and moderator of the panel discussion, said parents could get that information other ways.
The number of e-cig offenders has grown from the 115 reported then but remains under 200, Pendergrass said.
Regardless of the number, she said, “It is a concern.”
Pendergrass wants parents to know RRPS educates students about the dangers of tobacco and e-cigs in a variety of ways, including health and physical education classes, student announcements and where appropriate in regular classes.
Parents and guardians can help by learning about the different shapes and types of e-cigarettes and the risks of using them, and by talking to their kids about why e-cigs are harmful to their health.
“We want what’s best for your students,” Maniaci said.
Pendergrass said the internet has good resources for learning about e-cigs and talking to youth about them. She suggested the U.S. Surgeon General’s e-cig Web portal, e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov.