Vaping.  JUULing. Maybe you’ve heard these words, but been uncertain what they mean. Maybe you suspect your children have tried it. Don’t miss an opportunity to learn the facts about these new devices this Thursday, April 19, for a family lecture called, “What is the Big Deal About Vaping? Why are Kids Attracted to it and What are the Facts?”

The Wilton Youth Council’s Warrior Council and Newport Academy invite students in grades 6-12, parents, and community members to learn more about the recent rise of vaping among all youth–and Wilton youth in particular.

Wilton Youth Council’s Elizabeth Driscoll Jorgensen, CADC, owner of Insight Counseling and a consultant to Newport Academy, will present this talk on Thursday, April 19 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Wilton High School Little Theater.

A “vape” or “vape pen” is an e-cigarette, and the JUUL is among the most popular brands. Originally marketed as a smoking cessation tool, e-cigarettes have taken off in popularity among teens across the country and in our region. A recent study of Wilton High School students by Suniya Luthar, PhD, found that while the number of students who had smoked a tobacco cigarette in the past year was close to zero, almost 25% of freshmen and sophomores and 45% of juniors and seniors had “vaped” during the prior month.

Researchers and the medical community are sharing new information about the risks of vaping and the long-term health consequences, and one thing is already clear:  most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and a generation of young people who would not consider smoking tobacco cigarettes are nonetheless becoming addicted to it. Vape pens can also be used to consume THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana.

Vaping is particularly problematic for parents and schools for several reasons. E-cigarettes are marketed in candy, fruit and dessert flavors that make them appealing to teens. Among young people there is the misperception that vaping is safe, and that e-cigarettes contain only water and flavoring. What’s more, often we do not recognize the devices when we see them. The JUUL looks similar to a USB memory stick, can be charged on a computer, and when used, releases an odorless aerosol that can go unnoticed.

The Warrior Council, a Wilton Youth Council club at Wilton High School, provides students an avenue to substance-free activities, healthy alternatives to substance abuse, and an opportunity to build leadership skills through planning educational forums. Membership is open to teens in grades 9-12 who are seeking to make a difference in their community and to build confidence to choose substance-free living.

For more information about this event or about the Warrior Council, email program leader Melissa Barrett.