E-cigarette use, also know as vaping or JUULing, has become a top priority. Teen vaping has increased 50% in Minnesota since 2014, and in Winona County 16.7% of 11th graders used e-cigarettes in the past month. There are many different types of e-cigarette devices, and most contain nicotine (addictive substance) along with cancer causing chemicals. We are launching a marketing campaign in schools this year about the harms of vaping, and we supported efforts to raise the legal tobacco age to 21.
We interviewed 9th and 10th graders in Winona and Lewiston to hear directly what students think about vaping. Students shared where they see it happen, how e-cigarettes are purchased, and how to prevent it.
What is vaping?
Vaping is breathing in the vapor fumes or smoke produced by an e-cigarette device. Vapor is created by heating up liquid within a device pod. Vaping is also referred to when doing any type of trick with the exhaled smoke or vapor. There are many different types, sizes, and colors that can be easily hidden. Learn more by using a GUIDE created by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
Is vaping harmful?
Vaping is harmful, and is heavily marketed to youth. There are at least four known cancer causing chemicals found in the most popular brand e-cigarettes. Although it was originally sold as a tobacco cessation device to help quit cigarette smoking, e-cigarettes today contain nicotine (addictive chemical) and are branded with thousands of flavors appealing to youth. One e-cigarette device pod can be the equivalent of a pack of standard cigarettes.
What can you do?
- Become familiar with the types of devices and how to identify them. Contact Winona County ASAP to schedule a Vaping 101 presentation at your business or group today! The presentation is free, lasts 30 minutes, and gives you the opportunity to see and touch the devices.
- Talk about the harms of becoming addicted, ingesting chemicals, or exploding devices. Research has shown that children want to learn about drugs and alcohol from a trusted adult, such as a parent, coach, or teacher. The National Public Radio (NPR) created a guide for parents that can be found on their website. For a guide based on age-appropriateness, try this article from Parents.com. Another great resource is the Minnesota Department of Health’s E-Cigarette and Vaping resource web page. This page includes information for parents as well as for health professionals and educators.
- You can also support raising the legal tobacco age to 21. While Tobacco 21 was passed on the national level, we are still working to make it law in Minnesota and Winona County. This allows our officers to enforce the new law and clears up any confusion for retailers. Below are a couple handouts to help you get started or learn more about raising the legal age. Send a Letter of Support to [email protected] that we will forward on to our Winona County Commissioners.