CIT’S Vaping 101: Education about a dangerous pastime

Mar 8, 2018 by

Published in the March 8, 2018 edition


NORTH READING — Cloud chasing, boxies, cigalike and custom mod are just a few of the vaping terms shared by Director of Youth Services Amy Luckiewicz and School Resource Officer Detective Paul Lucci during their Vaping 101 presentation on March 1.

The presentation was geared toward educating parents and members of the community on what vaping is, products associated with vaping, as well as the lures and dangers of vaping.

According to Luckiewicz, what started as a nicotine cessation device has become a highly concealable, highly addictive habit.

The modern electronic cigarette, created by Chinese pharmacist and inventor Hon Lik, came to the market in 2004. By 2008, the World Health Organization (WHO) claimed that e-cigarettes were not a legitimate smoking cessation device, and demanded that marketers remove any WHO endorsements from their labels.

DIRECTOR of Youth Services Amy Luckiewicz (right) and School Resource Officer Detective Paul Lucci explain the progression of vaping products, including packaging that mimics innocuous items such as “juice boxes” as a gimmick to attract the attention of minors, during the Vaping 101 presentation for parents. (Jillian String Photo)

Vaping up 900% among youth

In 2016, the Surgeon General issued the following statement: “E-cigarette use among U.S. youth and young adults is now a major public health concern. E-cigarette use has increased considerably in recent years, growing an astounding 900% among high school students from 2011 to 2015. These products are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States, surpassing conventional tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and hookahs. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which can cause addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain.”

Luckiewicz explained that the term “e-cigarette” has now been almost exclusively replaced with “vaping” among teens.

An e-cigarette, or vaping device, works by using an atomizer, often referred to as an atty, to heat e-juice until it boils, creating a vapor that is inhaled. The original e-cigarettes produced water vapor, but the water proved to be highly corrosive to the internal structure. Subsequently, vaping devices now produce aerosols containing common antifreeze propylene glycol, formaldehyde, lead, manganese, chromium, nickel and cadmium.

Detective Lucci introduced the crowd to the latest vaping device called the juul, which looks like a USB flash drive. Each juulpod of vaping juice contains the nicotine equivalent to one pack of cigarettes.

“(Juulpods) are made out of what they call salt nicotine,” Lucci stated. “Salt nicotine is a new form of nicotine that they’re using. It’s less harsh on your throat, and they can pack more percentage of nicotine in the salt nicotine.”

Lucci went on to say that because the salt nicotine does not irritate the throat the way traditional nicotine does, kids and adults are using more of it and becoming addicted faster.

“(Vaping) is an extremely profitable business, so to stay ahead of the manufacturers is very difficult,” Luckiewicz said.

Luckiewicz noted that vaping products are often expressly marketed to minors. Vaping juices now come in a variety of flavors, such as cotton candy, strawberry cupcake and Creamsicle. The juul even has a fidget spinner attachment that can be purchased to accessorize and further conceal the device.

“Part of the reason that the juuls are so common is because we have kids that are addicted to them,” Luckiewicz said. “(Juuling) is so common that it has its own verb.”

Some juices claim to have zero nicotine, however this is unregulated. Products manufactured in the United States tend to be safer due to strict regulations; however, most kids purchase products online from worldwide vendors.

According to Luckiewicz, nicotine is the most addictive substance legally sold. It can be absorbed through the skin, so it is imperative to keep it away from pets and young children.

In North Reading, the age to purchase vaping and tobacco products has been raised to 21. The town has also passed a flavor ban, limiting the sale of flavored juices and products to tobacco and vape retailers. There is only one vaping retailer in North Reading.

Both Luckiewicz and Lucci stressed that kids are still able to find all products online. Many online retailers will provide incentives, such as rewards programs and real time shipping information so kids can intercept packages before their parents see them.

Lucci and Luckiewicz will be conducting a presentation for grades 8, 9, and 10 in the upcoming months, and an In Plain Sight and Vaping 101 presentation will be offered through Parent University on Saturday, April 7.

Due to popular demand, the Vaping 101 presentation will be offered again during National Prevention Week on Tuesday, May 15 at 7 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. to accommodate those who could not attend the evening sessions.

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