Soundview Drug Free Coalition exposes vaping dangers

The Soundview Community Drug Free Coalition is revving up its efforts to educate people on the dangers of vaping.

The coalition has initiated a new campaign warning youth of the dangers associated with e-cigarettes and other vaping products.

Anne Johnson, coalition chairwoman and Soundview resident, noted that only a year ago, there were hardly any vaping shops in the community, however there are now over a dozen in the community and near local schools.

Dr. Jose Rivera, a substance abuse prevention expert, gave a presentation discussing the widespread use of vaping products in junior high and high schools.

According to Rivera, the process, known as ‘juuling,’ refers to one of the e-cigarette products baring a striking resemblance to a laptop’s flash drive.

Juul uses nicotine salts, or ‘protonated nicotine,’ which exist in leaf-based tobacco rather than free-base nicotine.

One pod inserted in a Juul device and consumed within 15 minutes is the equivalent of smoking a full pack of 20 cigarettes.

“The adolescent brain is already susceptible to addictive substances and the use of this concentrated amount of nicotine only makes the addiction more likely to occur,” explained Rivera.

Rivera said that students refer to their school bathrooms as ‘Juulrooms’ as it’s often where their peers can be found juuling.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, e-cigarettes can contain such harmful ingredients as ultrafine particles which can be inhaled deep into the lungs; flavorants like diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds and heavy metals like nickel, tin and lead.

Health risks include increasing potential addiction; long-term harm to brain development including mood disorders and permanent lowering of impulse control, secondhand exposure and leading to the usage of such tobacco products as regular cigarettes, cigars, hookahs and smokeless tobacco.

E-cigarettes, also called ‘e-cigs,’ ‘e-hookah,’ ‘e-pens’ and ‘vape pens,’ have seen their popularity among young people grow dramatically in the past five years.

The coalition also warns of two dangerous vaping methods known as ‘dabbing’ and ‘dripping.’

This is a specific and dangerous method of vaping butane hash oil.

BHO is a concentrated cannabis extract utilizing butane as a solvent to release cannabinoids, terpenes and tetrahydrocannabinol.

Dabbing combines the impact of a pack of tobacco with marijuana extract which is significantly stronger than marijuana.

Dripping is the act of placing the e-liquid directly onto the device’s hot coils to produce thicker, more flavorful smoke.

Dripping may expose users to elevated levels of nicotine and to such carcinogens as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.

SCDFC reported that in 2016, nearly 4 million U.S. middle and high school students used tobacco products while half used two or more tobacco products.

The coalition adopted a resolution to conduct a community-wide education campaign for junior high and high school students, their parents and grandparent caretakers.

SCDFC and the Phipps Community Center host educational programs for youth residing in Soundview and its surrounding communities.

The coalition is considering proposing legislation that would prevent vaping shops from operating within a certain distance of schools or educational facilities.

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