Dear parents and guardians of middle and high school students,
Recently there has been media coverage of the increased use of e-cigarettes (vaping devices) by teens nationwide. We have also observed this trend in our middle and high school community, and have seen a rise in the number of students bringing e-cigarettes to school and using the devices on our campus.
A vaping device that seems popular among some of our students is called JUUL - it’s small size and resemblance to a thumb drive makes it possible for teenagers to hide it in plain sight. Additionally, the fact that it recharges using a computer’s USB port makes it seem like it’s a computer accessory and not a tool for nicotine delivery (see photo below.)
JUUL devices are readily available to purchase online and each “pod” has the same amount of nicotine as one pack of cigarettes. The nicotine pods are often sweet-smelling, with fruit flavors that may be appealing to teenagers and also helps disguise the fact that the device is actually delivering nicotine. To view a video on juuling, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLD7kW_uVEY&disable_polymer=true.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigarettes can be harmful and lead to nicotine addictions and other health complications. Click here for a guide about the risks of e-cigarettes use and young people.
We also want to remind you that regardless of age, all nicotine and tobacco products are prohibited on any Bainbridge Island School District property according to BISD Policy 4215. Additionally, e-cigarettes and vaping devices (regardless of whether they contain nicotine) are prohibited on school grounds. In following district policy, administration will enact school discipline (suspension) for any student in possession of an e-cigarette or vaping device on school district property or at a school-sponsored sport or activity.
Education is key to helping curb nicotine use and we encourage parents and students to have an open conversation on this topic. This tip sheet can help facilitate your discussion. Another excellent resource is from the American Lung Association and its understanding on how e-cigarettes may lead to “popcorn lung” which causes coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
Part of the important work we do as school administrators is to support our teenage students in making healthy and informed choices. Because we believe in the strength of our community and value family support, we wanted to include you in this conversation as well.