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Vaping among Washoe County youth has nearly tripled since 2017 (sponsored)


Health District launching parent education webinars in English & Spanish to help parents

In April 2018, a group of high school students gathered at a support group to talk about their addictions. The goal was to be accountable for their issues and discuss ways in which they could overcome it. 

One participant entered the group with a completely different set of intentions.

The person, later identified to be a representative of e-cigarette maker JUUL, spoke about how safe e-cigarette products were and that how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was on the cusp of approving the products very soon (It never happened). 

The same people who introduced vaping products in flavors such as strawberry kiwi, cotton candy and chocolate swirl (which were later banned) were the same people telling kids (without parental consent) that e-cigarettes weren’t bad for you, despite being proven to cause significant damage to lungs, cardiovascular system, and a myriad of other health issues. 

Vaping among youth has skyrocketed. In Washoe County alone, in the last three years, the number of middle-school-aged kids who have tried e-cigarettes has tripled. 

The Washoe County Health District (WCDH), its District Board of Health and Parents against Vaping have recognized March as Vaping Prevention Month and are hosting a series of webinars for parents to help curb e-cigarette/vaping use. The first webinar is Wednesday, March 30, at 4 p.m. To register, go here: To register, www.parentsagainstvaping.org/events

Congressional testimony about this incident was cited by FDA as evidence that JUUL had marketed directly to kids. The Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have both urged aggressive steps to protect our children from e-cigarettes. These highly potent, accessible, and addicting products that risk exposing new generations of young people to nicotine. 

In 2017, about 6.6% of youth in Washoe County had tried e-cigarettes or vaping. In 2019, that figure climbed to 18.9 percent, which was 6.9 percent higher than the state of Nevada average. Locally and across the nation, there are unacceptable disparities in youth e-cigarette use by zip code, income level and ethnic group creating long-term inequities in health and behavioral health outcomes.

“The manufacturers of vaping products employ aggressive advertising campaigns targeted towards teenagers and young adults, which take advantage of the lack of specific regulations for their sale,” says Dr. Jose Cucalon Calderon, the American Academy of Pediatrics Nevada Chapter E-Cigarette Prevention Champion.

The webinars, which begin Wednesday, March 30, will address the powerful addictiveness of e-cigarettes, how to talk to kids about vaping, signs to look for and quitting resources, among other topics. 

PAVe, which is partnering with WCHD, is a national grassroots organization founded in 2018 by three New York City moms — Dina Alessi, Meredith Berkman, and Dorian Fuhrman — as a response to the youth vaping epidemic. More information can be found on its website at www.parentsagainstvaping.org

The Nevada Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians, the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition, Parents Against Vaping, Boys and Girls Club Truckee Meadows, and the Washoe County School District are rallying around the goal of protecting our youth from the nicotine addiction, physical harm, and behavioral health damage resulting from youth using e-cigarettes.

The Washoe County Health District hopes to deepen parent support from the Parents Against Vaping webinar series to strengthen the public health and protect our children in Washoe County. The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services funding for local youth vaping prevention efforts is crucial to continue to build strong prevention efforts against e-cigarette and vaping use by youth.

“Parents might not know if their child has tried e-cigarettes or if they currently use e-cigarettes,” said Lisa Sheretz of the Washoe County Health District. “It’s not difficult to hide e-cigarette use and if you do discover your child is vaping, it’s difficult to address it as well. We’re hoping these webinars will give parents the tools to address vaping with their kids so they can understand the extremely hazardous health risks.”

For more information about quitting tobacco, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. For other resources locally from the Health District, go here.

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