Sunday, Sep 23rd

Last updateSat, 22 Sep 2018 2pm

You are here: Home Content Neighborhood News Vaping, E-Cigs and the Health of Our Youth
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop
Scarsdalians Steal the Show at the 2018 Emmy Awards

Scarsdalians Steal the Show at the 2018 Emmy Awards

Phones all over Scarsdale lit up at 9:33 pm on Monday night 9-17, w...

School Lunch Program Debuts to Mixed Reviews

School Lunch Program Debuts to Mixed Reviews

Despite months of planning, collaboration with parents and teachers...

Bronx River Books: Now Open in Scarsdale Village

Bronx River Books: Now Open in Scarsdale Village

Jessica Kaplan and Mark Fowler of Bronx River Books Like many of you...

Police Report: Jewelry Stolen During Sylvan Road Burglary

Police Report: Jewelry Stolen During Sylvan Road Burglary

Burglary: On Sept. 14, a Sylvan Road resident reported her house ha...

first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

Vaping, E-Cigs and the Health of Our Youth

StumacherNo doubt, you've heard stories about teens vaping at school or at parties, and you've seen recent headlines like "JUUL Leading To More Teens Vaping At School," "E-Cigarettes: A Shiny Alternative To Smoking," and "Vaping Is The New High School Epidemic." Well, this vaping "epidemic" is likely much closer to home than many think.

An ever-increasing number of teens and preteens are vaping, or smoking "e-cigarettes," each day, and its popularity is growing exponentially. It's believed that over a quarter of all middle school students and three quarters of high school students have tried e-cigarettes. In fact, when recently studying e-cigarette use among teens, the National Institute on Drug Abuse didn't bother asking whether they were vaping; it asked what they were vaping.

And, now, parents and school administrators are playing catch up, trying to learn more about e-cigarettes and how they can affect children's health. To provide some guidance, last week, the Scarsdale School District hosted "Vaping, E-Cigs and the Health of Our Youth," a presentation by Dr. Richard Stumacher, chief of pulmonary and critical care at Northern Westchester Hospital, and a smoking cessation expert.

"There's a lot of media, there's a lot of imagery... that are trying to grab your attention and (say) that vaping is not smoking, that vaping is not poison..." Stumacher began, as he showed the audience various advertisements. But, he finished with one alternative message that illustrated his point of view: a depiction of e-cigarettes as "the next generation cigarette for the next generation addict."

The most recent "official" or FDA opinion of vaping is that while e-cigarettes aren't without health risks, they're likely to be far less harmful than conventional cigarettes; they may help adults who smoke conventional cigarettes to quit smoking; their long-term health effects aren't clear; and, among young people, e-cigarette use increases the risk of transitioning to conventional cigarettes. In addition, there's conclusive evidence that e-cigarettes are addictive and contain a host of harmful chemicals, including nicotine.

In addressing the oft-mentioned health "benefits" of e-cigarettes over conventional cigarettes, Stumacher explained that substituting e-cigarettes for conventional cigarettes can reduce users' exposure to toxins and carcinogens, and may reduce short-term adverse health effects. However, he said, "that does not mean healthy or safe; it just means that, over the short term, it's not so bad."

Stumacher's main concern is nicotine addiction in adolescents and teens. A powerful, mood-altering substance, nicotine quickly affects the brain, causing a release of dopamine, which results in a feeling of pleasure and calm. After about 20 minutes, the feeling begins to dissipate, often leading a smoker to continue cigarette use throughout the day. "Nicotine affects the area in the brain that governs judgment and decision-making; that is the last part of the brain to develop," he said. "It disrupts growth of brain circuits that control attention, learning and susceptibility to addiction, and increases the risk of psychiatric disorders, cognitive impairment and attention deficit."

Stumacher explained that it's easier to convince teens about the dangers of smoking conventional cigarettes since there's indisputable evidence about exposure to carcinogens, and links to lung and heart disease. However, the medical community is actually divided over the effects of e-cigarettes. In short, "there are people who are pro and anti-vaping; insufficient literature and medical research; and, as of yet, no evidence of disease directly caused by vaping," he said.

So, Stumacher took the opportunity to present what is known about the risks of e-cigarette use. There are some 42 chemicals present in e-cigarettes, 19 of which that are especially harmful. And, of over 51 brands tested, 92 percent contained at least one of these harmful substances. Besides nicotine, quite a few of them, like diacetyl, are used as flavoring. "While many of the people who are pro-vaping will say that the chemicals are safe for food consumption... my perspective is that while it may be safe to go into your stomach, it may not be safe to go in your lungs," he said.

This, along with the fact that e-cigarette use is strongly associated with future cigarette use, led Stumacher to advise, "The question is not whether vaping is safe; the real question is should we allow our youth to vape, and the answer is clearly no."

He continued by explaining different vaping delivery methods and "e-juices." "What are our kids using? They're using JUUL devices, which are like the iPhones of vaping," he said. All JUUL pods (cartridges that hold vaping liquid or 'e-juice') contain nicotine; there are no 'just flavoring' versions. One JUULpod is the equivalent of approximately 200 puffs, or one pack of cigarettes.

Most teens cite availability of "appealing flavors" as the primary reason to begin vaping. Countless e-juice flavors are available, ranging from vanilla custard, blueberry, cookie milk, and peanut butter and jelly, to menthol and traditional tobacco, with varying levels of nicotine strengths. "This is clearly aimed at our children," Stumacher said. "Non-nicotine flavored vaping liquate is a gross and obvious gateway product aimed at youth to enter the nicotine addiction marketplace... It's already a $5 billion industry; there is a significant amount of money to be made in turning your child into a nicotine addict."

He then passed around samples of JUULs and showed how vaping devices can vary in size and appearance. They can look like pens or conventional cigarettes, and so-called "mods" can be changed and personalized. Many teens begin with a JUUL "starter kit," which costs about $50.00. The kits contain USB ports and easily can be charged discreetly at home or school. JUUL pods are sold typically in packs of four, at a cost of $20, making them much cheaper than a $15 pack of cigarettes.

Advice for Parents
"Stopping your child (from vaping) will prevent him or her from becoming enslaved by nicotine, which is the most addictive substance known to mankind," Stumacher said. He warned that increased vaping among youth will lead to devastating health issues in the decades to come. "We're going to see a tsunami of lung cancer and emphysema, heart disease, diabetes, etc., etc."

He then changed gears and provided parents with advice. "Alright, it's really not that bad; the kids aren't bad. They just don't know; they're not informed," he said, while urging parents to be patient and begin honest discussions with their teens. "Rather than yell at them or accuse them, just have conversations – frequent, small conversations. Your children are not going to, all of a sudden, decide they're not going to vape, especially if they're vaping nicotine."

Stumacher stressed that parents need to educate themselves, and begin open dialogues with children, not lecture them. He suggested beginning with a conversation in the car: "Your kid isn't looking you in the eye and there will be an end to the talk... " as opposed to a discussion at home that may go on and on, leading your child to tune out. Other tips include setting a positive example by being tobacco-free, preparing for questions that your teen may have about the health effects of vaping, and finding the right moment to discuss the issue, perhaps when seeing someone use an e-cigarette.

Another tactic is to simply prove the power of addiction. "None of the kids who vape want to go on to smoking. They think it's disgusting," Stumacher said. "If you think (your child) is a nicotine addict, suggest he or she go longer without vaping, and see how it feels. When kids feel the symptoms of withdrawal, they may realize they're addicted (and be willing to stop)."

To learn more about e-cigarettes and how to talk to your child about vaping, visit The National Academies Website here or the Surgeon General Website here. To see a recording of Dr. Sturmacher's presentation, visit the school district website here

Laura Halligan, a new contributor to scarsdale10583.com, is a local writer, editor and marketing consultant. She is principal of Pinch Hit Prose and provides communications services to entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofits.

Good Work

SETTING

Firefighter Sworn-in and Others Honored at SFD Ceremony

Firefighter Sworn-in and Others Honored at SFD Ceremony

Nicholas Konicoff and Fire Chief Seymour One new firefighter was sworn in and nine career firefighters and one volunteer firefighter were ...

Read More

Around Town

SETTING

Ladies Who Lit to Debut at JCC

Ladies Who Lit to Debut at JCC

Edgemont’s Stephanie Risa Balkin, the new director of Arts & Talks programs at the Jewish Community Center of Mid-Westchester, is wor...

Read More

Neighborhood News

SETTING

Bronx River Books: Now Open in Scarsdale Village

Bronx River Books: Now Open in Scarsdale Village

Jessica Kaplan and Mark Fowler of Bronx River Books Like many of you, we were so excited to find that Scarsdale’s new independent bookstor...

Read More

On Our Minds

SETTING

Seasons Kosher Grocery Files for Bankruptcy But is Still Expected to Open a Larger Store at the Golden Horseshoe in October

Seasons Kosher Grocery Files for Bankruptcy But is Still Expected to Open a Larger Store at the Golden Horseshoe in October

Despite filing for Chapter 11, Seasons Supermarket is still expected to open at the Golden Horseshoe Shopping Center in October. The shop...

Read More

On Our Radar

SETTING

Hamilton Author Ron Chernow Coming to a Town Near You

Hamilton Author Ron Chernow Coming to a Town Near You

With the construction at the Scarsdale Library, many Scarsdale residents are heading over to the White Plains Public Library to access re...

Read More

Parenting

SETTING

Skolnik Promoted to Director of Content at NYMetroParents

Skolnik Promoted to Director of Content at NYMetroParents

NYMetroParents, the parenting division of Davler Media Group (DMG) encompassing eight print magazines including Big Apple Parent and the ...

Read More

Village Voices

SETTING

Gas Leak Shuts Down Post Road

Gas Leak Shuts Down Post Road

At 9:30 am on Monday September 17, workers who were repaving the Post Road in Scarsdale, struck a gas line causing leaks to homes on Evon...

Read More

Shout it Out

SETTING

Board of Trustees Report Repaving, New Gas Lines and New Stores in the Village

Board of Trustees Report Repaving, New Gas Lines and New Stores in the Village

This week’s Scarsdale Board of Trustees’ meeting was largely positive and brief, in contrast to the miserable weather that has taken hold...

Read More

School News

SETTING

SHS Class of ’19 Gets Their Chance to Chalk

SHS Class of ’19 Gets Their Chance to Chalk

The SHS Class of ’19 particpated in one of the rites of being a senior. On Friday September 14, Scarsdale High School seniors crowded aro...

Read More

Schools

SETTING

School Lunch Program Debuts to Mixed Reviews

School Lunch Program Debuts to Mixed Reviews

Despite months of planning, collaboration with parents and teachers and the best of intentions, the Scarsdale School administration found...

Read More

The Goods

SETTING

Scarsdalians Steal the Show at the 2018 Emmy Awards

Scarsdalians Steal the Show at the 2018 Emmy Awards

Phones all over Scarsdale lit up at 9:33 pm on Monday night 9-17, when a former resident became the surprise star of the Emmy Awards show...

Read More

Real Estate

SETTING

A Promising Start to the Fall Market

A Promising Start to the Fall Market

Sales:
21 Windmill Lane
Colonial designed and built by Scarsdale's most prominent builder with six bedrooms, 5.5 baths 6190 square feet fee...

Read More

Today's News

SETTING

Police Report: Jewelry Stolen During Sylvan Road Burglary

Police Report: Jewelry Stolen During Sylvan Road Burglary

Burglary: On Sept. 14, a Sylvan Road resident reported her house had been burglarized sometime between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. The perpetrator...

Read More

Arts and Entertainment

SETTING

Create Culinary Memories At Donjito Tacos And Tapas

Create Culinary Memories At Donjito Tacos And Tapas

As new restaurants pop up frequently in Mamaroneck, I seem to be visiting this diverse community frequently. Most recently, there was Sof...

Read More

People

SETTING

Former Scarsdale Mayor Beverley Sved Passes Away at Age 74

Former Scarsdale Mayor Beverley Sved Passes Away at Age 74

Beverley Sved, (1944 - 2018) former Mayor of Scarsdale, died unexpectedly on the morning of September 22nd of a ruptured aortic aneurysm ...

Read More

first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

Programs for Scarsdale Kids