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Vaping Letter

Dear HHIMS Families,

We have noticed an increasing trend of students using vaping devices on our campus. While it is illegal for anyone younger than 21 to buy or have these electronic smoking devices, many students find ways to access them. Some devices are supplied with a nicotine infused liquid and others with THC, the compound in Marijuana responsible for mind-altering effects.

The concentration of nicotine delivered through vaping devices is often much higher than in cigarettes or other traditional tobacco products. Nicotine is highly addictive and frequent use of vapes during teen years can increase addictive tendencies and likelihood of using other tobacco products. The dependency that can develop also leads some people to compulsive use that distracts from daily activities. At school this can make it hard to remain focused on class assignments.

Due to cultivation practices intended to maximize THC content, many varieties of marijuana available today have much higher concentrations of THC than the varieties available to previous generations. The THC concentration available in some vaping liquids can be even greater. THC use is known to cause short term impairments that impact the motivation and ability to learn. Prolonged and concentrated uses can also cause longer lasting impairments in processing as well as adverse psychological impacts. THC is an addictive substance. Use during developmental years in particular can lead to prolonged addictive behaviors and dependency, as well as increasing the likelihood of other more serious addictions.

For many years the US witnessed a decline in marijuana and tobacco use among teens after significant regulatory and educational efforts. Unfortunately, teens see less risk in both of these products when consumed through a vaping device. Often these devices produce little noticeable scent and are easy to conceal. Frequently they look similar to a pen or USB device. In addition to the risks specific to THC and nicotine use, vape devices have other risks parents should understand. The chemicals used in some flavorings as well as small particulates can cause damage to the lungs and in some cases chronic lung conditions. There have also been numerous reports of devices exploding while charging, being transported and while in use. Explosions have caused serious injuries and facial disfigurement.

For the safety and wellbeing of our students, the school will continue to enforce disciplinary measures to discourage the use and distribution of vaping devices. Use of vapes on school campus is a serious violation of our code of conduct that can result in suspension. If the device contains THC or if the student is distributing vaping products to others, it is criminal violation of our code of conduct that can result in alternative program placement or expulsion. In addition to disciplinary measures, we know that our efforts will be most effective by also educating students about the dangers involved and collaborating with families to help our youth make the best choices for their health and safety.

Below are links to reports with additional information about the risks of teen vaping. I hope you will review this information and have intentional conversations with your child about their experience with vaping.

Brantley Wilson

VAPE Facts for Teens