From Our Team
Posted on May 18, 2020 by Bianca De León
While the world is currently focused on the global public health crisis being caused by COVID-19, just over a year ago we were facing a different lung concern, E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use-Associated Lung Injury, or EVALI. This disease, though very different from the coronavirus, did show the lungs vulnerability to vaping devices.
It remains a good time to talk with your kids about the health risks associated with smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco or nicotine products such as e-cigarettes and vape devices. As smokers may be more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 and smoking may compound the disease’s effects, it is important to find reliable resources to know how to address the topic of nicotine use.
The Paso del Norte Health Foundation has been committed to helping support individuals maintain a healthy lifestyle for 25 years. Through the Smoke Free initiative, the Health Foundation and its partners have helped promote smoking cessation and played a large role in establishing smoke-free policies in public places for over 20 years. In recent years, the YMCA has stepped into the role as the backbone organization for the initiative and leads the Tobacco Control Network, a large community group that helps coordinate tobacco prevention.
I recently spoke to Annette Torres, program manager for the YMCA and Smoke Free Paso del Norte, she says, “It’s probably good to talk about vaping with your kids while they are home a little bit more.”
“While vaping hasn’t been around long enough to study the long-term effects, we’ve seen reports of serious lung damage in people who vape. We know that vaping puts nicotine into the body, which is highly addictive and can slow brain development in children, and adolescents, which can affect their memory, their ability to learn, and their behavior.”
Torres said that the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids has listed several signs that parents can look out for if they suspect their child may be using e-cigarettes or other vape products:
- Look out for unusual online purchases or packages arriving in the mail
- The scent is faint, but you may catch a whiff of flavoring
- Use of vaping lingo or emojis in text messages or on social media
- Stepping away or excusing themselves from things frequently
- Appearance and/or behavior changes
- Changes in attention, mood, and impulse control
I encourage you to have a conversation today with your kids about vaping. It’s never too early to start.
Visit fightflavoredcigs.org and a smokefreepdn.org to find helpful resources for parents. If you would like to help educate parents and youth about the dangers of vaping and become more engaged in your child’s school community, contact Annette Torres at 915-730-3805 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also follow Smoke Free Paso del Norte on social media by adding @SmokeFreePdn on your favorite social media platform. Parents Against Vaping is another valuable resource you can find on social media by following @ParentsvsVape.
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