Browning School administrators have continued to see an increasing number of incidents involving the use of e-cigarettes by middle and high school students. This follows a rise in student use of the devices in recent years. Our school system wants to alert parents to this trend, and to share information regarding e-cigarettes and their detrimental effects on teens and young adults.
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/tobacco/features/back-to-school/e-cigarettes-talk-to-youth-about-risks/index.html) notes that “since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among US middle and high school students.” The U.S. Surgeon General (e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov) warns that “many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive,” as well as other harmful substances. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched its first tobacco prevention campaign “The Real Cost” in 2014, to educate at-risk teens on the harmful effects of cigarette smoking, and expanded it to educate teens on the dangers of e-cigarette use in 2018.
According to the CDC, e-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid and produce an aerosol, or mix of small particles in the air. E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. In fact, some e-cigarettes are so small that they are very difficult to detect, and may even resemble pens or USB drives to casual observers. E-cigarettes are known by many different names. They are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). Using an e-cigarette is sometimes called “vaping” or “JUULing.” The CDC also reports that the use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for children, teens, and young adults. These devices often contain extremely high levels of nicotine, or can contain other harmful substances besides nicotine such as THC.
It is against Montana law for a minor to buy or possess vaping products. Additionally, the use or possession of e-cigarettes in our schools is a violation of BPS policy. School administrators have been advised to treat it as such. Students who use e-cigarettes at school may be subjected to severe disciplinary consequences, including suspension from school or possible placement in alternative school.
Please talk with your child about the health risks and other consequences that are associated with the use of e-cigarettes. Feel free to contact your child’s school or our school system offices if you have any questions. And please refer to our school system’s website for resources that may help you talk with your child at home. Your child’s safety, and the maintenance of a healthy and safe school environment, are our school system’s top priorities. We appreciate parents’ support in this mission.
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