The Saline Community Addiction Prevention Task Force and St. Joseph Mercy Health System are hosting a forum on vaping May 17 at Saline Middle School to explain the dynamics of the habit, discuss potential health impacts and make clear the legal issues attached to the use of electronic cigarettes.
Task force chair and city council member Janet Dillon said it is troubling to witness a noticeable uptick in people using vape pens and similar devices. She hopes educating citizens about the risks they are taking in choosing to vape will prompt some to ditch the practice.
“It seems to be more common nowadays to see people, adults and youths, using e-cigarettes,” she said. “Maybe this is the catalyst for the lackluster response to what is a growing epidemic. Vaping is a deadly trend that if left on its current trajectory will have infinite future ramifications on the health and well-being of countless individuals.”
Perhaps most concerning, Dillon said, is the rise of vaping among minors, who might perceive the practice as a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes.
“Over the past several years, e-cigarettes have become very popular with young people. Recent studies show that high school-aged young adults are more likely to use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes,” she said. “Exposure to nicotine can cause addiction and harm to the still-developing adolescent brain. The brain, lungs, heart and immune system are all susceptible to damage from vaping.”
Dillon said vaping is even being seen in measurable amounts among kids younger than ninth grade.
“According to the CDC, 38% of high schoolers and 13% of middle schoolers have tried vaping at least once,” she said.
Community members of all ages are invited to attend the forum and dinner will be provided at 6:15 p.m. The event is scheduled to go through 7:30 p.m.
For more information, call 734-398-7518 or visit www.stjoeshealth.org/health-exploration-station.