Vaping prompts schools forum, proclamation
Worried so many teenagers are vaping, and potentially damaging their health, Orange County officials are looking for ways to curb use of electronic cigarettes.
Local doctors and the county’s health services division plan to host a community forum on vaping Jan. 27. That free event in Orlando will be geared toward parents.
The Orange County School Board this week adopted an anti-tobacco proclamation that focused on vaping, saying it wanted to end “all use of tobacco products” by students and for the community to join that effort.
In recent months, health organizations have raised alarms about the dangers of vapes — which produce a cloud of nicotine-laced aerosol — and some school districts, including Seminole County’s, have decided to take legal action against JUUL, the company blamed for vaping’s popularity among teenagers.
The school districts suing contend the company’s products have led to a vaping epidemic among teenagers. Each JUUL cartridge contains as much nicotine as 20 traditional cigarettes, they note.
The Orange school board is not pursuing legal action but its proclamation noted similar concerns, saying it had to add vaping to its student discipline code in 2016.
The same worries promoted the county forum.
“When we looked at data, there’s an alarming trend,” said Thomas Hall, director of Orange County government’s drug free office. “The numbers are pretty staggering.”
Hall cited the national Monitoring the Future Survey, which found that in 2019 use of e-cigarettes had doubled from two years earlier, with 25% percent of high school seniors reporting they’d vaped within the past month.
As a result, the National
Institutes of Health called vaping a “public health crisis” in September.
“These products introduce the highly addictive chemical nicotine to these young people and their developing brains, and I fear we are only beginning to learn the possible health risks and outcomes for youth,” said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, the institute’s director, in a statement.
The forum’s scheduled speakers include several doctors from Nemours Children’s Hospital, who are to discuss the scope of the vaping problem, the health consequences and how parents can respond.
Vaping has undone the progress health officials made in turning young people away from traditional cigarettes, Hall said.
The Jan. 27 forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Orange County Administration Building, 201 S. Rosalind Ave. in downtown Orlando.
The Orange County School Board approved a proclamation declaring it wants to end vaping, and all tobacco product use, among students.