“Dangerous” Increase in Number of Local Children Vaping Prompts Today’s e-Cigarette Workshop

“Dangerous” Increase in Number of Local Children Vaping Prompts Today’s e-Cigarette Workshop

Published : Tuesday, December 10, 2019 | 5:22 AM

Vaping and the use of e-cigarettes is on the rise among youth, and Pasadena’s Day One is teaming with Pasadena Unified School District and the Pasadena Department of Health to educate people on the dangers.

Day One and PUSD will team to provide workshops for parents on the dangers of vaping and the Pasadena Public Health Department supports the cause.

Middle schoolers are joining high schoolers are taking up the habit and it’s something that can cause long term health concerns, said Pasadena Health Director Dr. Ying Goh.

Goh said there have been no confirmed cases of e-cigarette-associated lung injury in Pasadena, but there has been a dangerous increase in the number of kids vaping over the last four years.

Vaping and the use of e-cigarettes is a public health issue, said Dr. Ying Goh. She said it is important to watch for signs of e-cigarette related pulmonary and lung illness.

“The illness we’re seeing is called e-cigarette-associated lung injury or illness,” Goh said. And it’s something that’s hitting the kids.

“Vaping companies are targeting kids to start vaping and one of the major factors is the flavored products,” Goh said. “And we know that four One out of five kids who vape nicotine use the flavored products. We know kids are seven times more likely to vape than adults.

Kids as young as 11 are vaping. Vaping illness has been declared an epidemic by the U.S. surgeon general last year. The reason is the number of middle school and high school students who vape has increased 900 percent from 2011 to 2015 (National Survey YBRSS here).

“When we see a sudden increase in a health issue, that’s when it’s an epidemic,” Goh said. “It’s an acute illness seen in over 2,000 people nationally. In California, there have been four deaths and 173 cases. Of the cases, half of them are people under 30.

“That’s what is unusual,” she said. “Many people are young people getting hospitalized with severe illness. It presents with breathing problems, chest pain and coughing but also can include nausea, vomiting and fatigue.

One of the issues, Goh said is getting kids to admit they used e-cigarettes so sometimes the symptoms can be misdiagnosed, so when admitted for medical care being honest with the doctor is best.

“It’s very alarming how ill people have gotten,” Goh said.

There are unregulated products which are also putting toxic chemicals into the vape juice, Goh said, and the marketing is clever, as vaping and smoking in general are made to look attractive on social media and in the movies.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported that as of Dec. 6, there have been 34 cases of “serious vaping-associated pulmonary” injuries associated with e-cigarettes in Los Angeles County. No serious vape-related injuries have occurred in Pasadena, Goh said.

All but one case reported using both e-cigarette and cannabis-type products, not necessarily at the same time. One reported using flavored liquids only (no nicotine, THC, or CBD). Various devices and products were reported and remain under investigation.

Goh said that among Pasadena residents she has not had any confirmed cases of e-cigarette illness. But the community organization and the school district are going on the offensive. Day One has taken the reins on helping to educate parents on the topic and will hold a workshop at Marshall Fundamental School on Tuesday to address the concerns of parents.

“Parents requested this workshop,” said Nancy Verdin, community prevention project coordinator at Day One. “E-cigarettes contain nicotine so vaping is highly addictive. They’re more discreet about it, so it’s more trending for teens to use vaping.”

According to information provided by Day One, one out of 10 high school students is vaping and the vaping trend is on the rise despite health warnings. And it’s because there has been a lot of advertising and social media directed at kids.

In Los Angeles County, approximately two out of three cases reported are in individuals age 25 and younger. Both male and female cases have been reported.

Many users don’t see vaping as dangerous as using cigarettes, and that’s a dangerous misconception.

While the LA Health Department did not single out one specific e-cigarette manufacturer, Juul has been under investigation for an array of alleged offenses. The company is credited with reviving the ailing e-cigarette market, mainly by making vaping seem “cool” to people, many of those are under the age of 20.

By using flavors like Bubble Gum, companies like Juul have been making vaping attractive to youths, those who are considered in the age bracket of 12-year-old to 18-year-old.

“We have heard from students that it’s a trend among middle schoolers and high schoolers both,” Verdin said. “A lot of people think it’s safer to vape, so Day One plays a role in debunking assumptions that people think it’s safer. The youth is trying to make the case that it’s fine, so we are working with the parents on this.”

Goh said parents can be aware and there is helpful information available through a helpful website: Flavorshookkids.org, which has resources for parents, peers and other adults.

There is also a telephone number: 1-844-8-NOVAPE

Today’s Day One Vaping Workshop will be held at Marshall Fundamental School on Tuesday, December 10 from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

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