Goleta Safety Spotlight: Vaping Epidemic

For this edition of the Safety Spotlight, School Resource Deputy George Hedricks addresses an important topic that all parents and students should be aware of: vaping.

In the 8 years I’ve served as a School Resource Deputy, there has never been a time where there have been more students affected by tobacco products.  When I first started working at the school, you would occasionally find students in possession of cigarettes or catch a student just off campus smoking a cigarette.  With the evolution of smoking products, starting with the E-cigarettes, which then evolved into the vaping devices, catching or finding students using these have dramatically increased. I very rarely if ever find students with cigarettes anymore.   These devices have also evolved so they are used to smoke marijuana.  A Dab pen THC Vape looks and functions just like a nicotine based vape.

I believe more kids are willing to try a vape or electronic cigarette for several reasons.  The vapes are easier to hide.  Although they come in many different shapes and sizes, many are about the same size of writing pen and can easily be hidden in a backpack or pocket.  Vape’s don’t have the strong odor like a cigarette does and you don’t need a lighter to use them. Again, making it easier to hide and use.  Vapes come in many fruity or appealing flavors.  Kids love technology, and most vapes can be charged the same way as a cell phone and some even have digital screens on them.  They are also easy to buy over the internet.  Some kids are purchasing the vapes over the internet where they can change their age in order to purchase.

I think for a long time there was also misinformation that somehow vaping was healthier than smoking a traditional cigarette.  As we have seen in recent news, there have been multiple deaths related to vape use.  Like any new product, initially there was not as much information about long term affects of vaping.

I think it’s important for parents to have discussions with their children about vaping and to not just assume their child isn’t doing it or hasn’t been affected by it.  This topic is very relevant in our student’s lives right now.  If a student is caught at school with a marijuana vape, they can received a citation as well as a school related consequence.

Thank you School Resource Deputy Hedricks for all you do to help educate our youth on the dangers of vaping.