AP NEWS

Group to teach Rapid City students about e-cigarette hazards

March 24, 2019

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A Rapid City social service organization wants to educate elementary and middle school students on the health hazards related to the new vaping trend amid a statewide decline in teen usage of traditional tobacco products.

Michele Brink-Gluhosky, a Lifeways counselor, said at an assembly group Wednesday at North Middle School that vaping can be a safer option for chain smokers who are already suffering from lung damage, but it is not safe for kids, the Rapid City Journal reported.

Eight percent of the South Dakota middle school students surveyed said they’ve used e-cigarettes or vaporizers at least once, up 5 percent from 2015, according to a 2017 state Department of Health report.

Lifeways now includes facts on the products in its intervention- and prevention-oriented programming. This year, the group obtained $2,000 in state grants to coordinate a programming partnership with Rapid City schools.

The extensive accessibility of the devices and wide collection of flavors well-suited with them are enticing younger users whose brains are particularly susceptible to nicotine’s addictive components, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Experiments with drugs and alcohol usually happen in the early teen years, which is why the group prioritizes students in elementary and middle grades, Brink-Gluhosky said.

No data on tobacco and nicotine use at Rapid City schools was immediately available, but Brink-Gluhosky noted vaping is rising in popularity in the district.

Peton Swallow, an eighth-grade student at North Middle, said she has often overheard classmates express a desire to try vaping. Swallow is a member of the school’s Youth to Youth club, which assisted in organizing the Wednesday’s event.

“We want to make people aware of what this can do to your body,” Swallow said.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com