Carson City officials hear vaping presentation
School officials are working to educate more Carson City youth on the dangers of vaping, and they’ve asked Health and Human Services professionals to help.
Toni Orr, public health nurse with HHS, gave a presentation to the Board of Supervisors and the Carson City School District at their joint meeting Thursday, sharing similar information she provides to Carson High School’s health classes on vaping products teens are using and the hazards associated with them.
Orr said the number of teens in Carson City reporting ever using e-cigarettes, according to the latest Youth Risk Behavioral Survey results published in 2017, has increased to nearly 50 percent. While the 2019 data has yet to come out, HHS has received a preview, Orr said, and results for use among high school students did not appear to change much. Middle school use, however, has gone up from 2 percent to 11 percent.
Demonstrating how small the new e-cigarette devices have become, including Juul pods, Orr said students now carry USB-sized containers in which middle or high school students fill them with nicotine salt, essential oils or other liquids in with vape with different flavors, such as cookie and cream, mango, various soaps or even different perfumes.
Orr also presented some of the advertisements Marlboro, which purchased 35 percent of Juul, uses to appeal to youth and young adults featuring celebrity influencers such as Zac Efron and Johnny Depp using e-cigarette products.
Orr said the goal is to help avoid chemical dependency on these products, which can happen once a person engages in vaping and takes in secondhand aerosol from the device. A report from the U.S. surgeon general has found that it only takes 10 seconds for nicotine from inhaling one puff of smoke to enter the brain, Orr said. This causes the release of dopamine, increasing a person’s ability to feel pleasure, decreasing anxiety and finally creating addiction, she said. However, it also becomes poisonous, creates tendencies to become depressed and makes a person prone to become hyperactive. Students in particular experience a harder time concentrating in class, she said.
“They’re waking up and vaping, and they’re going through big mood swings,” she said. “They get a lot of mood swings. They’re three times more likely to use marijuana if they’re already vaping.”
Sheriff Ken Furlong, who also spoke on an earlier item in the meeting regarding the school district’s school resource officers, reported to both entities that on Thursday alone, the school resource officers confiscated four devices from students.
“The fad is so strong right now,” Furlong said. “You can look at juvenile statistics and you’ll see that climb in the fad in all of our data we’re collecting. … I don’t think the kids realize (the danger), no matter what you tell them.”
Superintendent Richard Stokes told the supervisors the district recently has seen students who typically never would be disciplined are coming to hearings now due to use of these vaping and marijuana products.
“We have used that kind of restorative justice to tell their story and go to seventh and eighth grade classes and tell other students what’s at stake and what they could stand to lose,” Stokes said. “Even those kids who aren’t using are being caught with soft cases in their backpack and are just blatantly selling these and they’re being held to the consequences.”