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Informational Forum About Vaping Hosted by Belleville High School

 

May 23, 2019

During the forum, the vaping statistics for Belleville High School were discussed.

Recently, staff at the Belleville High School hosted a vaping forum to inform the public about the vaping industry.

Middle School and High School Principal Nate Perry reviewed Belleville's statistics from the Dane County Youth Assessment, which indicated that about 45 Belleville students are vaping.

"This is slightly more than the Dane County average," said Perry.

Nina Gregerson, a Health Education Coordinator with Madison and Dane County Public Health, presented information and had examples of e-cigarettes.

"The next generation of addictive tobacco products is here, and most of them don't look anything like a pack of cigarettes," said Gregerson. "Tobacco has evolved so fast it's tough for parents to recognize tobacco when they see it, and even tougher to talk to kids about the damage tobacco products can do."

Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs that exists.

"Nicotine disrupts proper brain development in young people," said Gregerson. "All e-cigarettes will get someone hooked on nicotine. Research suggests that youth are up to seven times more likely to use other forms of tobacco if they use e-cigarettes like JUUL."

What is a JUUL? JUUL is a type of e-cigarette that has surged in popularity since it was introduced in 2015. It was meant to be a life-saving mission but became a $16 billion unregulated industry targeting youth, "despite the fact that its purchase, possession, and use is illegal for minors younger than 18 years old," added Gregerson.

JUUL has two components: a rechargeable battery and a detachable cartridge of e-juice called a JUULpod.

"JUUL's small size and close resemblance to a USB flash drive adds to its appeal with youth and allows young people to discreetly use and hide the device," said Gregerson.

A starter kit is about $50 and a replacement pack is about $16, compared to $7-$10 for cigarettes, which are taxed.

"There also are about 8,000 flavors," added Gregerson. "The industry uses flavors to appeal to young people."

Currently, staff with the Madison and Dane County Public Health are working with several youth focus groups in several Dane County schools, grades 6-12.

"What we are learning is that we need to focus on younger students," said Gregerson, who encouraged the school district to review its tobacco use policies. "From the focus groups and results from the Youth Tobacco Survey, one out of every nine middle school students have tried e-cigarettes, 96 percent of those who use e-cigarettes first tried an e-cigarette before age 13."

Gregerson encouraged attendees to share their e-cigarette knowledge and, "to talk to your kids, make sure they know the facts."

Near the end of the presentation, Gregerson, Belleville Police Department spokesperson Cody Pharo, and district nurse Rebecca Clark answered questions.

Teresa Pelton, a spokesperson for the Belleville Area Cares Coalition, also attended. Belleville Cares encourages parents and the entire Belleville area community to send a unified message that teen alcohol consumption is unhealthy, unsafe, and unacceptable.

"It is encouraging to see so many people attend this presentation and show an interest in learning about e-cigarettes and juuling to keep our youth safe," said Pelton.

For more information, visit https://truthinitiative.org. For Gregerson's presentation, visit the School District of Belleville's website for the link or visit https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8P_2mqToRkCeXF5c3lfcjRuelpWQzNvZ2o0LWMyVVczOTZF/view.

 
 

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