“The problem has become so bad and undetected that Minnesota health and education officials are sending letters to administrators urging they tackle the issue before it gets even worse”. – KARE11
A recent survey by the Minnesota Youth Tobacco found that there has been an astronomical rise of e-cigarette use in schools across Minnesota. This week, KARE11 shined a spotlight on the huge spike in teen e-cigarette use.
The station interviewed school officials, students and health officials from the Department of Health about the rising use of e-cigarettes inside schools and classrooms. “Sometimes, they are so small and concealed that teachers don’t notice them”, reported KARE11.
What is Behind the Increase in Nicotine Consumption?
This is the first increase in teen nicotine consumption in 17 years. One student from outside Duluth’s Denfeld High School confides, “I see, on average, like five to ten kids do it a day in like, class, like secretly in the back of a classroom or when the teacher’s not paying attention”.
As schools collect vaping devices and other types of e-cigarettes from students, they are even more concerned with the smaller devices such as JuuL, they often miss. Some of the devices are as small as a flash drive. Juul is the brand that currently dominates the e-cigarette market. They are not only small, but they produce virtually no vapor or smell leaving them easily undetected. “They can basically use it in plain sight,” said Laura Oliven, MN Tobacco Control manager.
According to Oliven, “No amount of nicotine is safe for kids yet each flavored Juul “pod” contains as much nicotine as a full pack of cigarettes. A pod has the nicotine, the same amount of nicotine as two hundred puffs. And you can imagine what that does to the brain. Electronic cigarette use and exposure to nicotine harm learning, memory, attention, and kind of changes the neuropathways, which creates a lifetime susceptibility to addiction.”
Oliven notes, “For some youth, they can become addicted within weeks. If we’re locking addition patterns as early as middle school, we have an even more serious problem.”
Health and Education Warns of Dangers of E-Cigarettes and Vaping Products
The Minnesota Department of Health and the Department of Education have sent a rare, joint letter to school districts across the state, warning them of the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping products. The letter explains how e-cigarettes have led to the first increase in teen tobacco use in nearly two decades and urge schools to alert parents and increase awareness (and education) about the products.
In its letter, the state is urging schools to help educate both students and parents about the rise in e-cigarette use. The health department is also pushing for new regulations on e-cigarettes, including raising the age of purchase from 18 to 21, keeping tobacco prices high, restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products and funding tobacco prevention and control programs.
Nicotine can still harm your teeth and gums and may contribute to gingivitis, dry mouth, and gum disease, as proven by regular cigarette smokers. Nicotine creates many oral health problems including gum recession because it is a vasoconstrictor reducing the amount of blood flowing through your veins and resulting in less oxygen and nutrients going to your gums, which causes the gum tissue to die. Over time, Nicotine causes staining on your teeth. To learn more or to schedule an appointment for an exam and consultation with Dr. Lindgren, call her office today at (651) 393-9739. There is no time like the present! Contact Lindgren Dental Care Today!