Presentation by Dana Cavallo, Ph.D and Alissa Goldberg, Research Assistant-Yale University
Friday, May 4, 2018
Dana Cavallo, Ph.D and Alissa Goldberg from Yale University spoke to Ellington parents and community members Friday evening, May 4th. The purpose of the evening was to help parents gain more information about e-cigarettes. Many parents said they felt more knowledgeable and were grateful for the presentation. They also brought several e-cigarettes so parents could see close up what they looked like. The evening was a great success. Below is some info from the presentation:
The modern history of vaping has its origins in ancient times. The first who came up with the idea of an e-cigarette was Joseph Robinson in 1927, however, it was in 1963 when Herbert Gilbert and his “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” made vaping popular. The Chinese firm Hon Lik made the first modern e-cig in the mid-2000s.
The first generation e-cigarettes looked like a cigarette and were disposable. The end of it had a light that glowed so it appeared like the person was smoking an actual cigarette. The second generation e-cigs were battery operated and the smoker had to press a button to puff on it. Third generation e-cigarettes no longer resembled a cigarette at all and were digital and battery operated. The most recent e-cigarette that has grown immensely in popularity is the Juul. This e-cigarette has the highest nicotine content. The small charger resembles a USB stick and the nicotine in it equates to a pack of cigarettes, or 200 puffs. The Juul has been very popular amongst teens because of the ability to conceal it in a sleeve or pocket. Kids call it vaping, Juuling, swishing, blowing smoke, squonking, dripping and vape tricks.
Why do youth use e-cigarettes? Dr. Cavallo reports curiosity, the flavors and because it is “cool” are the main reasons. Seven out of 10 middle school students who currently vape use the flavors. There are over 7,000 flavors! Currently these flavors are NOT regulated by the FDA. They hope this happens in the near future, but more research is needed. That is where Yale comes in. Cavallo leads focus groups of youth who vape as part of her research. Many people who vape like the “throat hit” and “rush” they feel when inhaling. They are actually an aerosol and not a vapor says Cavallo. Anything that is a liquid can be vaped which can create very dangerous situations. Propylene Glycol is one ingredient that causes the “throat hit” and vegetable glycerin creates the cloud, and those are ingredients that can be ingested safely into the body but it is uncertain if inhaled into the lungs is safe. In addition the e-cigarette has a dual use and there are some users who put marijuana in them.
The Juul was originally created to help cigarette smokers quit smoking but vaping has not been approved by the FDA as a smoking cessation method. Youth are able to purchase it online for about $50 for a starter kit. It comes with 4 pods and refills cost about $15. To appease the public, the manufacturers are now requiring youth upload a copy of their license to make sure they are 21 years old or older.
In 2016 vaping was regulated to make it illegal for anyone under 18. Cavallo is hoping that will go up to age 21. Starting this summer there will be warning statements on packaging. Research is ongoing as there are still many unknowns about e-cigarettes and other chemicals in them.
Ellington resident state troopers were on hand to discuss the vaping in our schools and community. The use of e-cigarettes is not allowed on school property. If a student under 16 years old is caught using an e-cigarette they are referred to the JRB (Juvenile Review Board). For anyone age 16-17 it is an infraction that comes with a fine. Anyone age 18 and older on school property it is also an infraction. Because the Juul is so easy to conceal and the vapor so easily dissipated it is often difficult to catch them in the act of “vaping.” In schools across the country, it seems the bathroom is the easiest place to vape. Some youth have been so bold to keep the device in their sleeve and lean over to vape right in class. Cavallo suggests to teachers they move about their classroom instead of staying in the front.
Both Dana Cavallo and the troopers urged that parents find opportunities to talk to their children about vaping. Find out what they know, give them some information or look it up together. She suggests the Surgeon General’s website www.surgeongeneral.gov. Many youth are unaware that what they are inhaling is actually nicotine. It’s never too early to have the discussion. Cavallo feels a campaign similar to the anti-smoking campaigns may be needed for vaping.
For more information on e-cigarettes, visit https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-cigarettes