Dear Scappoose families,
We are sending this message today to seek support and encourage broader understanding of a health crisis that is affecting school age students. Increasingly, students are using e-cigarettes (e-cigs), Juuls and vaping. This is not just a Scappoose issue, but quickly becoming a state and national epidemic. Please read the following information and join us to address this as quickly as possible.
What are we dealing with?
E-cigs are electronic devices that look like a regular cigarette. They include a heating element, battery and a disposable liquid nicotine cartridge that produces a smokeless and low-odor vapor.
The latest development has been Juuls. The introduction of Juuls has been a widespread phenomenon, throughout all levels of schools. The discrete nature of Juuls, ease of obtaining the devices and teens being a targeted demographic of various manufacturers has created a concerning health crisis.
Vaporizers, or vape pens, are battery or USB charged devices that are often the size of a fountain pen and use a different “filter” to generate the vapor from liquid nicotine that can be refilled within the device. Vape pens produce large, puffy clouds of vapor, whereas e-cigs and Juuls give off a smaller amount of vapor, looking more like an actual cigarette exhale.
While the delivery looks a little different these days, e-cigs, Juuls and vaping are as addictive as regular cigarettes and may be even be more harmful depending on the substance being inhaled.
We don’t want to be a part of national statistics on teenager e-cig/vaping use. We want to stand out as a proactive district who is confronting this health crisis head on. Families, we need your help. We are asking you to partner with us to eradicate this distracting and destructive habit from Scappoose schools.
What you can do to help?
- Talk with Your Kids
If you’ve already talked to your kids about the dangers of cigarette use, it’s time to have an updated prevention talk that includes your family’s stance on vaping/e-cig devices. In this discussion, expand your family policy (set of behavior rules and expectations) to reflect your family’s stance on vaping/e-cig use and the consequences if this rule is broken.
This conversation with your kids should also address the potential dangers of vaping/e-cigs and you should be your kids’ accurate source of information. Kids could perceive this method of nicotine use as safer than a regular cigarette and may not understand health risks that are still present. It’s also important for you and your family to know Oregon laws regarding possession and sales of e-cigs to minors.
- What to Look For
With traditional cigarettes you’re used to looking for a pack and a lighter. Now parents need to expand their radar and be aware of any electronic cigarette or pen-like devices, in addition to chargers and liquid bottles. Depending on the e-cig model and brand, its style and size can vary. Plus, e-cigs can be purchased online, so don’t forget to check internet browser histories and incoming mail.
- Telltale Signs
With regular cigarette use, this would include a smoke odor. E-cigs eliminate this telltale indicator, so don’t assume that because you don’t smell anything that there isn’t a chance your child is using an e-cig device. Pay attention to changes in attendance, grades, homework habits, or other behaviors.
While students will face consequences at school, including suspensions and possible expulsions and referral to law enforcement, we believe that students are best served by being in our classrooms learning. We do not want to suspend or expel students over e-cig/vaping use, so again, we are asking for your partnership in confronting this issue and helping us eliminate it from our schools.
Please do not hesitate to contact your school administrative team with any questions or concerns about this health crisis.
Images of Possible Devices
Resources for Parents about E-cigarettes/Vaping
Scappoose School District