Mt. Vernon High School (MVHS) recently hosted a convocation for all students about the harmful effects of vaping and drug use. Every MVHS student listened to an informative presentation in the auditorium about the harmful effects of drugs, especially vaping and marijuana.
The presentation started with informing students about the harmful chemicals and substances that are in vaping and e-cigarettes. The companies that make these products are not required to tell their customers what is in their items, so most students do not know what kind of dangerous chemicals are in them. Vape and many other drugs contain nicotine which is highly addictive and in large doses can kill you. Nicotine doesn’t just alter your brain, it changes it. You can become addicted just as easily to vaping as you can to cigarettes, and depending on how much vape you inhale from one use, it could be just as bad as smoking an entire pack of cigarettes. Many students also do not know that vaping is illegal for all students under 18 years old, just like cigarettes, so there are major consequences for students that are caught vaping. One form of vaping that many parents are unaware of is juuling. A lot of teens use juuls because of their small size that looks similar to a flash drive. They are easily disguisable which makes it simple for people to take it around with them wherever they go without getting caught. (click HERE to learn more)
Neighborhoods Against Substance Abuse (NASA) is an organization that supports anti-drug programming in Hancock County and hosts surveys every year that show what drugs are being abused the most. In a recent survey, they found that vaping among the county’s teens exceeds the use of traditional cigarettes with 17.5 percent of the class of 2017 admitting to vaping. “E-liquids contain nicotine, which increases the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as flavoring agents that may cause a chronic lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans,” Harvard Medical School states.
Vaping has been proven to be very dangerous in many aspects. According to CNN, “water-soluble synthetics are easily converted into a liquid concentrate that can go into the device cartridges and be vaped just like nicotine and other legal substances. It makes it nearly impossible to tell what is inside someone's vape. It could be nicotine, marijuana concentrate, or fruit-flavored, nicotine-free "e-liquid," popular among kids. Or worst of all, it could be a deadly concoction of chemicals, known as synthetic drugs.” Many youth think that vaping is harmless, but what they don’t know is that there are many dangerous substances that can be vaped and potentially ruin their health.
One reason why many students are pulled into doing drugs and vaping is because of the marketing strategies that companies use. Drug companies have increased their advertising that is targeted towards youth and made a huge impact on drug usage in youth. Most youth are active on social media, which is why vaping and e-cigarettes are a common advertisement to see on social media networks. Vaping companies also use celebrities that teens look up to, to endorse their products. Teens might see their favorite celebrity vaping and be persuaded to do it themselves. Also, approximately 93% of retailers also sell e-cigarettes, which is a major reason why 2 in 3 students have reported that they have been exposed to e-cigarette marketing.
The convocation also discussed marijuana and how it has become more and more harmful through the years. Some grandparents might say that marijuana is not very harmful, which might have been true around the 1960’s when marijuana contained less than 3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the dangerous and mind-altering component of marijuana that causes hallucinations when consumed. Today, marijuana is completely different from the 1960’s and can contain over 20% THC. Marijuana also targets youth by putting marijuana in the form of cookies, brownies, and candy, which is one of the main reasons why more youth are starting to consume it.
Many drug companies are targeting youth, so it is helpful to know the true facts about these harmful substances and to not fall for their misleading advertising. Mt. Vernon wants to educate students about the harmful effects of vaping and drugs, so they can have healthy and drug-free lives and make the right choice if they are ever asked to participate. Click on the flyer below for talking points to share with your children.