Johnson County Schools hosts forum on e-cigarettes

Educators and student activists presented a workshop at Johnson County Middle School on the dangers of student vaping, particularly with Juul Labs products, which use small pods of fruit-flavored, nicotine-laced products and a charging device that looks like a common flash drive.

Students with Johnson County Middle School’s Community Problem Solving team and the Johnson County Schools coordinators for the Eagle Enrichment program hosted a workshop Thursday on the prevalence of vaping products that are all too commonly being abused by underage users.

The program, sponsored in part by the Mountain Comprehensive Care Center’s Regional Prevention Center, demonstrated the hazards of electronic cigarettes, particularly for underage users, and how easily such products can be concealed in household items. 

The largest manufacturer of electronic cigarette products, Juul Labs, announced Tuesday it would be suspending sales of flavored products in thousands of retail stores, and would shut down its presence on social media, after pressure in September from the Food and Drug Administration. The company’s widely available products include sweet and fruit flavors that the FDA said may appeal to younger users. 

“Juuls are a growing problem among our youth and very few people are aware of the dangers related to their use,” Eagle Enrichment coordinator Misty Ward said. “The JCMS CmPS team’s ‘Juul Breakers’ hope to increase awareness about the dangers surrounding this current problem.”

According to a 2017 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2.1 million high school students admitted to using electronic cigarettes in the past year. 

MCCC’s Justin Ross presented at the workshop for parents to understand not only the inherent risks to nicotine-laden products, but how easily they can be obtained and subsequently concealed. 

“Our Eagle Enrichment faculty would like to thank Justin Ross for his willingness to donate his time to educate our parents on the impact of vaping on the health of our students,” Ward said.

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