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From the Superintendent's Desk

My topic this time is vaping. Vaping has become a big widespread thing in our country today. Up until about a year ago I didn’t even know what vaping was. I am not going to pretend to be an authority on this matter but I do feel we all need to be made aware and that we should know some facts. I am not pointing any fingers.  I just want to get some information out there. It is a concern for all schools and for communities involved. 

An electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, is a handheld vaporizer that simulates smoking but without tobacco. Use of the device is known as vaping and the user is a vapor. The user inhales an aerosol known as vapor instead of cigarette smoke. The long term effects of e-cigarette use are unknown. E-cigarette vapor potentially contains harmful chemicals not found in tobacco smoke. The vapor is probably much less harmful to users than cigarette smoke however the vapor can cause abdominal pain, headache, blurry vision, throat and mouth irritation, vomiting, nausea, and coughing. There has been an outbreak of severe lung illness across multiple states in the US which has been linked to vaping. There has also been deaths relating to vaping. 

Vaping among adolescents is increasing worldwide. Some youths who have tried an e- cigarette have never used traditional cigarettes. Those who have not been using nicotine products to begin with are now vaping. Adolescent vaping is unlikely to be associated with trying to reduce or quit tobacco. The reason for the increasing use of e-cigarettes by minors may include the candy like flavor, or other appealing flavors and the aggressive advertising campaigns. 

The public health community is divided over whether to support e-cigarettes because their safety is unclear. They are uncertain of the long-term safety. The long-term of e-cigs are unknown and there is no evidence that e-cigs are safer then tobacco. There have already been hundreds of possible cases of severe lung illness and now seven confirmed deaths associated with vaping. Several states have band the sell of e-cigs pending further investigation on the health concerns. 

Our concern is to keep it out of the school. As we all know a school is a smoke free environment. We are therefore asking our parents and community to be aware of what is going on around them. There are clothing products out there that are discreet and can camouflage vaping devices. A computer mouse, a phone case, backpacks are just some of the ways vaping can be hidden. These products seem to be tailored to teenagers who want to keep their use a secret. There is also the Juul which is a palm size  stick that charges and is easily mistaken for a flash drive. There is even Apple-like watches manufactured that is one more popular device used. The face offers the time but when removed from the band it is a vaping device. Parents and the community can help us by staying aware. 

While research continues into the long-term prospects of e-cigarettes there is still clear evidence that teens should not vape. The liquids in vaping devices contain a range of chemicals that can harm the lungs and may even cause death. 

It is the hope that together we can convince kids that, like cigarettes, which have fallen out of favor in recent years, vaping isn’t cool and isn’t worth the gamble. 

This is a real problem!  Stay aware!  Stay alert!

Howard R. Gaffney   
Superintendent
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Stapleton Public Schools702 6th StreetPO Box 128Stapleton, NE  69163

p. 308-636-2252f. 308-636-2618

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