HOUSTON— E-cigarette use – or “vaping” – among youth has skyrocketed in the past year at a rate of tremendous proportions. Studies show that 1 in 20 middle schoolers and 1 in 10 eighth graders have tried vaping.
That’s why Northwest Assistance Ministries (NAM) Pediatric Health Center and Klein ISD Health Services collaborated to produce, “Vaping & E-Cigarettes: An Unprecedented Epidemic in Kids and Teens.” This is a 20 minute video with an eye-opening look into the epidemic of vaping among adolescents.
On Monday, June 3, 2019, professionals from Klein ISD attended a presentation, led by Patricia Dark, Nurse Practitioner at NAM’s Pediatric Health Center, at the Klein Multi-Purpose Center. They had their first viewing of this astonishing video which explained vaping, detailed the health risks that are involved, and how it can be a gateway to other substance abuse like actual cigarette smoking, vaping marijuana or other synthetic drugs.
“Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine” explained Dark. “Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.”
Flavors in tobacco products – along with the different shapes and sizes of the devices – are also problematic, as they can be very appealing to youth, and are frequently listed as one of the top three reasons this population uses e-cigarettes. Additionally, kids whose first tobacco product was flavored are more likely to become current tobacco users than those whose first product was tobacco-flavored.
“Teens are clearly attracted to the marketable technology and flavorings seen in vaping devices,” said Dark. “However, it is urgent that they understand the possible effects of vaping on overall health; the development of the teen brain; and the potential for addiction.”
The significant rise in e-cigarette use among the student population has resulted in an increase in overall tobacco product use. This is a cause for concern because tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, and because nearly all tobacco products contain nicotine. As adolescent brains are still developing, nicotine exposure during youth and young adulthood can change the way the brain works, leading to a lifetime of addiction and, in some cases, causing long-lasting effects such as increased impulsivity and mood disorders.
To view the video, click here.
The Pediatric Health Center is a unique partnership between NAM and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). While bringing excellent care to its patients, the center also serves as a training facility for UTHealth Science Center students as well as other local universities and community colleges.
Northwest Assistance Ministries is a non-profit, community-based social service agency that strives to meet basic human needs through Neighbors Helping Neighbors. NAM provides assistance in areas such as food, shelter, health, education and domestic violence awareness and intervention. During its last fiscal year, NAM touched the lives of more than 130,000 people through its many programs and services.