Please note: This information was compiled in conjunction with San Mateo Union High School District. If you would like to talk to someone at the District, please contact SUHSD's Wellness Coordinator, Javier Gutierrez, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a District, we want to inform families about a recent upsurge in the use of vaping devices by middle and high school students. Teens who vape nicotine may find it difficult to stop, as nicotine is extremely addictive. They often think it's just water vapor when it is actually aerosol. However, the enticing fruit, candy, and mint flavored solutions can contain high levels of nicotine, along with other toxic chemicals, that are harmful to the developing teen brain.
They can look like a thumb drive, can be recharged in a laptop, and can be refilled with other substances such as THC/marijuana oil.
There is minimal vapor, and the only odor may be that of fruit, candy, or mint, which appeal to youth.
The nicotine in one JUUL pod equals that in a pack of cigarettes (20 cigarettes).
Other devices, often referred to as “wax pens,” are sold specifically for the vaping of marijuana. Similar to other marijuana products such as “edibles” (marijuana in cookies, cakes, candy, etc.), these vape devices are marketed to youth, despite the legal age of 21 for use of nicotine, tobacco, or the recreational use of marijuana.
Ideally, it’s best to start the conversation with your teen without causing alarm. Get their perspective, and ask “why” before suggesting “why not.” Realize that they may have done their own extensive online research. Share your concerns and the facts, while understanding that facts may not be initially accepted by your teen. The frontal lobe of the brain, responsible for decision making and critical thinking, has not yet fully matured. Try to determine if your teen is surrounded by vaping activity, takes part socially, or uses by themselves. Also keep in mind that the use of substances is often intertwined with mental health issues, so seek help for your teen if you are concerned about signs such as depression or anxiety.