By Peter Bochner

The number of teenagers who are vaping is skyrocketing. According to one national survey, in 2017, 27.8% of 12th graders had vaped. In 2018, that number jumped to 37.3%.

If you follow the news, either in print or online, you’ve undoubtedly been seeing stories about vaping almost every day. Maybe you can recall reading some of these actual headlines:

Youth smoking decline stalls, and vaping may be to blame

Doctors calling for crackdown on vaping devices

CDC blames spike in teen tobacco use on vaping, popularity of Juul

With more kids vaping, should parents test them?

Juul sparks nicotine “arms race”

Juul revenue reaches $1 billion

Juul ad study finds company targeted youth from the beginning

FDA chief accuses Juul, Atria of reneging on promise to combat ‘epidemic’ teen vaping use

Vape pen kills man after exploding in his mouth

Exploding vape shuts down plane, cancels flight

Vaping may help some people quit cigarettes, but what about the nicotine?

Local student-athletes take anti-vaping pledge to encourage their peers

Among troops, vaping is now more popular than cigarettes

Hong Kong intends to jail vaping offenders. But will it make people quit?

E-cigarette vapor damages the immune system of mice, study finds

E-cigarettes “should be on prescription”

Despite the many news stories about the topic, most people know very little about vaping. Even vapers don’t seem to know much about how their vape pens actually work or what’s actually in the products that are going into their devices (and their lungs).

To answer any questions you might have, on Thursday March 7, at 7 pm, WaylandCares will sponsor a vaping education night at Wayland High School. The open forum is not open to students; it is a Parents Information Exchange (PIE) meeting aimed at parents of students of any age, as well as concerned community members. Presenter Jason Verhoosky, director of Wayland Youth & Family Services and program director of WaylandCares, will explain why vaping is skyrocketing, particularly among teens. He will display an array of vaping devices, such as Juuls and e-cigarettes, and related products and accessories, and will explain the science behind vaping devices and their components. The health implications of both nicotine- and marijuana-based vaping will be discussed.

Other possible issues to be covered during the meeting include:

  • What are the current laws and policies regarding purchasing and availability?
  • How is vaping different from smoking? How does an e-cigarette or vaping device work? Can a user refill a pod with a substitute substance?
  • What are the options to Juul? How many forms of e-cigarettes are there?
  • What are CBD and THC, and how are they different? Does CBD have medicinal uses? What are the risks of buying CBD products at convenience stores or smoke shops? Are CBD and THC products FDA-approved? When someone vapes marijuana, what are the THC levels like?
  • What is the difference between freebase nicotine and nicotine salts? What is the range of nicotine levels for products on the market? Do they vary by country? What role does the FDA play in regulating products and nicotine levels?
  • What’s causing some e-cigarette batteries to explode?

Peter Bochner heads up the communications effort for WaylandCares, a community coalition dedicated to reducing youth substance use and abuse.