October 16, 2018
Wildcat Parents & Guardians
Maxwell High School, similar to many other schools in the area, continues to deal with incidents involving student vaping. Complicating this issue is that there is varying information and misunderstandings involving vaping and/or electronic cigarettes. The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the issue, give you resources if you feel your student is involved in this kind of behavior, encourage you to visit with your child(ren) about the issue, as well as alert you to repercussions if your child engages in vaping on school property. We take this issue very seriously due to the negative health effects vaping can have on our students and often find that our parents may not be aware of the risks associated with vaping and what the devices may look like.
Vaporizers/e-cigarettes come in all different shapes. Some common styles we see look like a thick pen, a stylus for an iPad, a flash drive, or a small flask with a round chimney coming off the top (see pictures). The devices are very small and can easily be hidden on a person or blend in with normal backpack items. The nicotine juices for these items are often fruit flavored. Like cigarettes, stores cannot sell vaping items to people under the age of
18. However, students report that they purchase the devices online or buy from older siblings, friends, or unfortunately even parents.
When students vape in school bathrooms it can be due to an addiction to nicotine they have developed, a peer pressure issue, or they are simply curious and want to try it out. Regardless of the reason, spending excessive time out of class is heavily correlated to lower grades and understanding of material. Vaping in school carries the same consequence as smoking or chewing tobacco usage. Students who use or possess a vaping device at school or at a school activity will receive an out of school suspension as well as an activity suspension.
The Surgeon General reports that nicotine is addictive and can harm brain development, which continues until about age 25. We know that using nicotine may make it harder for school related tasks such as learning and concentration. In conversations with students, it appears that many are not aware of the harmful effects of vaping. Students either say they use nicotine-free liquid or that it is safer than tobacco cigarettes.
Attached to this letter are some links to parent resources that will help you understand vaping and offer tips for talking to your teen about e-cigarette usage. If you feel your child has already developed an addiction to nicotine, we suggest you reach out to your health care provider.
We hope you find this letter informative and understand our concerns about this potentially harmful issue. Our goal is to partner with parents to help support our students in making positive decisions for themselves and the high school community. We encourage you to have a conversation with your child(ren) about this topic. Finally, attached to this letter are images of electronic cigarettes or vapes to help you understand what these devices look like. Thank you for your continued support of our school system.
Maxwell Public Schools Administration
Truth Initiative. Inspiring Tobacco-Free Lives. 4 Things Parents Need to Know about Juul and Nicotine Addiction Retrieved from https://truthinitiative.org/news/4-things-parents-need-know-about-juul-and-nicotine-addiction
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Office on Smoking and Health. (n.d.) Talk with Your Teen About E-cigarettes: A Tip Sheet for Parents. Retrieved from https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/SGR_ECig_ParentTipSheet_508.pdf
CATCH My Breath Program. (n.d.) Parent Resources. Retrieved from https://catch.org/lessons/catch-my-breath-middle-school-parent-resources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. E-cigarette Ads and Youth. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/ecigarette-ads/index.html