Dear Parents and Guardians,
At SESS we are noticing an increase in student vaping. We are concerned about the negative health effects on students and are taking the issue seriously. The issue is complicated because there is varying information and lots of misinformation about vaping and e-cigarettes. We are finding that students are often unaware of the risks. The SESS code of conduct prohibits using vaporizers (and regular tobacco) on school property. I am writing to inform you of the issue and offer some resources if you believe your child is vaping.
Vaping is breathing in the vapour made by an electronic vaporizer. This vapour can contain nicotine, and other toxic substances. Vapourizers come in many shapes and sizes. They can be as large as a computer mouse, a thick pen, or even as small as a USB stick or tablet stylus. They are easily hidden and often disguised to appear as other items. Students are reported to vape in school washrooms and changerooms where it is easy to conceal and difficult for staff to monitor.
In BC it is illegal to sell vapourizers to people under 19. However, we know that some stores do not check for identification, or students are acquiring them from older family members or older friends.
Nicotine is very addictive and can harm brain development as well as making it more difficult to concentrate. Other risks include: second-hand vapour, popcorn lung, and the inhalation of harmful chemicals. Some vapourizers are also compatible with more potent drugs such as cannabis.
We hope this information is helpful for you and explains why we are concerned. Schools across British Columbia are facing this issue and our goal is to partner with parents to help our students make healthy decisions for themselves and their classmates. Please speak to your child about vaping.
Here are some links to more information:
Interior Health: Vaping and Youth-Fact Sheet for Parents
The White Hatter: Vaping and What Teens Had To Share
Health Canada: About Vaping