A couple weeks ago the Boulder City Council took decisive action to protect our children. At the urging of parents and the leaders of the Boulder Valley School District and Boulder County Public Health Department, Boulder became one of a small handful of communities in Colorado to proactively ban flavored e-cigarettes and to ask voters to tax vaping products.
It is an important step to protect our students from what U.S. Surgeon General General Jerome Adams, MD has called a national epidemic.
In December Dr. Adams reported that more than 3.6 million adolescents in the U.S. used vaping products in 2018, with one in five high schoolers admitting to e-cigarette use and one in 20 middle schoolers reporting the same.
The situation is especially concerning in Colorado where the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey showed that more than one-quarter of high school students in Colorado vape, the highest figure in the United States and double the national average.
In the Boulder Valley School District we have had students as young as fourth and fifth grade who have been treated for nicotine addiction related to vaping – and campuses are now littered with the Juul pods.
In response, Boulder Valley School District has taken an active role. Our Health Services Department has provided education to parents, students and teachers about the dangers of vaping. Meanwhile, teachers and administrators have had their hands full confiscating box-fulls of vaping devices and material, as well as providing support for students who can’t quite because they have become dependent on nicotine.
BVSD welcomes the measures passed by the Boulder City Council, because these simple measures will provide a clear message to students that vaping is not safe.
Unfortunately, kids think vaping and JUULing are safe. The tobacco industry is using the same playbook they did before with cigarettes - targeting teens and adolescents with marketing and claims that the product is safe and, in this case, is designed to help adults quit smoking.
While it is true that vaping eliminates the harmful smoke of traditional cigarettes it is dangerous. Some vaping products claim to be nicotine-free however without regulations on the manufacture of these products, most have been found to have varying amounts of nicotine. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance and alters adolescent brain development, affecting learning and even increasing the risk for other addictions. Additionally, there are chemicals in even the non-nicotine vaping products that can be hazardous. You should know there is currently a national outbreak of severe lung disease related to vaping. Over 450 possible cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products have been reported and 5 deaths have been confirmed. Outbreak of Severe Pulmonary Disease - CDC
In coming months the district will be working to:
- Increase awareness of the District’s staff to recognize and intervene with students who are vaping
- Advocate for changes in regulation by local municipalities to restrict access or to take flavored options off the shelf
- Partner with families to increase education of adults and children
Stay tuned for updates on this important issue.