PRINCETON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Princeton High School Counseling
151 Moore Street
Princeton, New Jersey 08540
Electronic cigarettes and vape pens have already been on the market for 10 years, and teenagers are using them more than you may realize. The number of students using electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) and vaping devices has increased dramatically since they were introduced in 2007. In fact, more teens use e-cigarettes than regular tobacco cigarettes and more teens than adults are using e-cigarettes. According to the latest 2016 Monitoring the Future Survey, 6.2 % of 8th graders, 11% of 10th graders and 12.50% of 12th graders have used e-cigarettes in the last month. As a school community, we are concerned about the increased use and interest that our students have in these devices. As a parent, it is very important that you know about these devices and have accurate
information to share with your teen. Even if you donít know what a vaping device is, it is safe to assume that your teen does. Hopefully, this letter will serve to raise your awareness and provide you with helpful resources.
In a matter of 10 years, e-cigarettes and vape pens have evolved to include multiple shapes, sizes, and strengths, all dependent on the battery size. Generally, these devices all work on the same principle. They have a battery, a heating element, and a cartridge that contains a liquid with or without nicotine. Many have replaceable liquid cartridges that give the user hundreds of flavor options for vaping. Instead of breathing in smoke from a traditional tobacco cigarette, the user takes in the aerosol that is produced when the e-liquid or e-juice is heated. With fun flavors and sleek, cool looking designs, these devices are very attractive to our teens.
Unfortunately, there are some myths that are held as truths by our teens. They believe that it is safe if they are only vaping flavored liquid (e-juice) without nicotine. Although it is true that more information and research is needed on the long-term effects of e-cigarettes, the early research is looking at the toxicity of the chemicals in the flavorings such as diacetyl. Chemical flavorings that are safe when eaten may not be safe when inhaled. Students also think that they will not use regular cigarettes if they start with e-cigs. There is evidence that suggests that students who use e-cigs are more likely to move on to regular cigarettes than students who do not use e-cigs. Nicotine is an addictive substance no matter how it is delivered.
Another concern is the use of THC liquid in these electronic devices. THC is the chemical in marijuana that produces the feeling of being high. When it is used in an electronic cigarette, the concentration is higher than what is found in the typical methods of using marijuana. Additionally, when teens vape THC, the traditional signs, such as the smell of smoke on their clothing, will not be present, making its use harder to detect.
Teens believe that electronic cigarettes and vape pens provide safer ways to use nicotine and marijuana. Without a doubt, e-cigs and vapes are being marketed to their generation. Listed below are sites that will give you a more thorough knowledge of e-cigarettes and vape pens, including how they work, what they look like, what parents need to know, and what the early research is showing.
If you have further questions, or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to call.
Gwen Kimsal, PHS Student Assistance Counselor