'Vaping issues in the schools'

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My teachers are used to dealing with disruptions in the classroom. They're usually watching our classrooms for things like texting or talking out of turn. But now they have something new to worry about - e-cigarettes/vaping.

There are many brands of e-cigarettes that are vaped among my classmates at Craig High School. Vaping is far too common and student perception is that they are less dangerous and cheaper than cigarettes, both of which are false. Bathroom closings and restricted bathroom use are unfortunately one way the school is dealing with this issue.

Kids know how easy it is to hide the vaping device and are sharing them which is a health concern. Many teens think that vape pens don't contain nicotine and aren't really an e-cigarette, but the truth is some vaping products have as much nicotine as a whole pack of cigarettes.

Vape pens are small, rectangular and look a bit like a flash drive or a case of lead for a mechanical pencil. So, even if you see one you might not realize what it is right away. They can be hidden from sight in a closed palm and puffed on discreetly in school without teachers even knowing. They come in flavors like cool mint, fruit medley, and crème brulee which sound harmless, but flavors can actually lure kids to use new tobacco products.

There's a lot of confusion about these products, so it's really important for teens to learn the truth about vaping and other e-cigarettes. My local FACT group in Craig High School in Janesville, will be spreading the truth about these products by conducting Poster Awareness FACTivism (a FACT-activism activity).

FACT is part of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services' Tobacco Prevention and Control Program and is managed by the American Lung Association. For more about FACT, visit FACTmovement.org.

Jonathan Wedner

Janesville

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