A recent survey shows electronic cigarette use continues to grow among children and teens.
The Seaman School District wanted to work toward prevention, beginning with Tuesday night’s discussion.
Seaman Middle School student Ashton Meier, along with classmates Riley Adams and Abby Cook, started off the discussion.
Meier said, “Not a lot of people talk about it, but starting now we’re going to be trying to have more conversations about how we can end vaping in our high schools and middle schools.”
USD 345 said it has seen an increase in students using e-cigarettes each year since 2015.
“Most kids don’t know the dangers of what vaping can do to your body and your lungs, and how it can effect you in the future,” said Meier.
Health officials said a lot of the danger of vaping and e-cigarettes is unknown, including addiction.
Dana Schwarz, Masters Addiction Counselor with Shawnee Regional Prevention and Recovery Services said, “Information has been given to people that using electronic cigarettes may not be as addictive, and youth that we are interacting with are saying that this has been a way of them to stop using other things and in turn become addicted to the electronic devices.”
That is why the Seaman School District put together a panel, to discuss those issues, misconceptions, and how the community can help in prevention.
Schwarz said, “They’re in school all day long and so this is the best way for us to reach the kids and the families.”
Dennis White is a parent of a high school student in the district and said, “This is where the kids are concentrated right now and if we have these conversations with other parents, then they can possibly pass that on to their kids.”
He said his daughter does not use e-cigarettes, but she tells him some of her friends do.
“I think that maybe how these kids are getting started vaping is just their friends and peer pressure,” said White.
Tuesday afternoon, a State Board of Education task force presented recommendations for schools to ban vaping by students, staff, and visitors on all school property and at school sponsored activities.
They will vote on it next month.