Vaping Awareness Issue
Special Principal’s Newsletter
Ganado ISD families
Student safety and well-being is a top priority for our district. By working together, we are committed to informing you and sharing the most current information on important topics and trends, so we can better protect each and every member of our learning community. As we continue this school year, we still face some ongoing issues and we need your help and support as a Ganado community.
We are seeing an increased number of teenage students across our great nation affected by vaping and the growing number of deaths related to this issue. Ganado ISD is NOT an exception, and we want to eradicate two major problems that are affecting our children: vaping (smoking e-cigarettes) and THC oil (a concentrated form of marijuana/cannabis extracts).
Ganado ISD, as well as many other school districts, are seeing a significant increase in the use of e-cigarettes, otherwise known as vaping. We are seeing this issue from the middle school level through high school. Use of these vaping devices or e-cigarettes poses a significant - and avoidable - health risk to young people in Ganado and the rest of the UNited States.
As part of our commitment to our learning community, we want to share some updates.
Vaping use is on the rise in the US. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) published that, as of February 18, 2020, a total of 2,807 hospitalized associated lung injury (EVALI) cases have been reported from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), with Texas leading the numbers with over 200 cases. The CDC also confirmed 68 related deaths in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Of these cases, 16% of the cases are kids 18 years or under. (For updated information, please access: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html).
For those of you who are unaware, electronic cigarettes are devices that utilize stored electricity to heat a liquid into vapors, which are then inhaled by the user. The liquid can be anything from a flavored water-type mixture, to high concentrations of liquid nicotine and/or THC, the principal active element of marijuana. Vaping devices present many new dangers for students and others around them, as new discoveries are made every day.
Vapes are obtained in a variety of ways. Students give, sell and trade vapes to/with each other on a regular basis. Some students are obtaining vaping devices by purchasing them on-line with prepaid credit cards. Students with access to a prepaid credit card and the internet, regardless of age, can order a vaping device.
GISD remains committed to our focus on keeping our students safe. Therefore, we will continue to provide important updates and information to our families in GISD to help keep our students safe and healthy. We are here to help in any way we can.
If you have any suggestions on other areas of concern, please let us know.
As always, thank you for your support of our district.
Dr. David Segers
William Prats-Palerm, M.Ed.
AS WITH ALL ISSUES RELATED TO CHEMICAL ABUSE,
PLEASE TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT VAPES AND THE UNFORESEEN DANGERS OF CARCINOGENS AND ADDICTIONS TO NICOTINE THAT CAN RESULT FROM VAPING!
What can we do?
Vaping devices are prohibited at all GISD campuses and buildings, including at athletic events and other after school activities, and on our playgrounds and other areas accessible by the public after hours. Possession of a vaping or e-cigarette device by a student triggers automatic discipline action, as outlined in the GISD Student Code of Conduct, which is available at https://www.ganadoisd.org/Page/265.
Moreover, a new state law went into effect on September 1, 2019, raising the legal age for vaping or smoking in Texas to 21, unless you are in the military. This new law means, not only can vaping/smoking incur a discipline action at school, it is now illegal for any student born after August 31, 1998, to purchase or use these products.
In addition, some students are using vaping or e-cigarettes to smoke a form of marijuana called THC oil. Possession of any amount of THC oil is a felony in Texas, and carries with it a mandatory expulsion from school and an automatic placement in Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP) in Jackson County.
We are asking our parents and guardians to take these specific steps to help protect our children:
STEP 1: Educate yourself about the risks of vaping and smoking
"E-cigarette use poses a significant – and avoidable – health risk to young people in the United States. Besides increasing the possibility of addiction and long-term harm to brain development and respiratory health, e-cigarette use is associated with the use of other tobacco products that can do even more damage to the body. Even breathing e-cigarette aerosol that someone else has exhaled poses potential health risks." You can read more at the Surgeon General web page: https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/knowtherisks.html
STEP 2: Watch the included videos
These videos will introduce the dangers and risks of vaping and smoking in a language you can use to talk to your kids.
STEP 3: Start a conversation with your child about the risks of vaping and smoking
Review the Surgeon General's recommendations and the Parent Tip Sheets included at https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/takeaction.html.
Your intention should be to start a conversation, not a lecture. It must be an on-going conversation, not a one-time affair.
STEP 4: Prevent student access to vaping and e-cigarette devices and monitor your child for signs of use
There are seven signs that can tell you if a student is vaping, according to the University of Virginia Health System.
- Increased thirst
- Mouth sores and a persistent cough
- Unfamiliar USB drives and battery chargers
- Odd clothing choices and hands frequently near the face
- Change in caffeine use
- Unexplained sweet scents
Youth Vaping by the Numbers
In a 2018 Texas substance abuse survey:
30% of all 7th to 12th graders reported having tried any form of tobacco.
26% reported having tried an electronic vapor product.
3.6 million: Number of middle and and high school students who, in 2018, reported having used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, including:
- 5% of middle schoolers.
- 21% of high schoolers.
In 2015, among e-cigarette users ages 18–24:
- 40% had never been regular cigarette smokers.
- In contrast, among e-cigarette users ages 45+, most were current or former regular cigarette smokers, and 1.3% had never been cigarette smokers.
Between 2017 and 2018, e-cigarette use increased:
- 78% among high schoolers.
- 48% among middle schoolers.
Sources: Texas School Survey of Drug and Alcohol Use, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration. Numbers rounded to nearest whole number.
“Want to quit? Contact Texas Tobacco Quitline: Free Resource to help All Texans quit smoking either by phone or online: 1-877-YES-QUIT or yesquit.org.
- Texas Health and Human Services: https://dshs.texas.gov/vaping/
- Texas Public Radio: https://www.tpr.org/post/just-how-hard-it-quit-vaping
- Public Health Law Center: https://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/resources/us-e-cigarette-regulations-50-state-review/tx
- Vaping at school is a felony in Texas: https://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/resources/us-e-cigarette-regulations-50-state-review/tx