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Vaping Concerns and Education

We are reaching out today to discuss an urgent health issue pertaining to vaping or the use of e-cigarettes. 

During the past two school years we have discovered many students “vaping” or using some form of e-cigarette in our secondary schools. While this poses a disciplinary problem for us, the potential effect on the health and well-being of our students is of far greater concern.

In recent weeks, the evidence that this is a very real health problem has been widely broadcast in the media. Cases of severe lung disease and even deaths have been associated with some of the chemicals in these vaping products, which are largely unregulated. Over the weekend, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State’s Health Commissioner will call on the state Public Health and Health Planning Council to enact a ban on the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes, and declare these products a public health crisis.

The Clarkstown Central School District has initiated programs to educate the staff and students on the serious health risks of this behavior. Representatives from outside agencies, as well as our own faculty, have presented the facts about vaping and e-cigarettes to all secondary students during the past two years. We have also requested that such information be included in the D.A.R.E. programs, led by the Clarkstown Police Department, at the elementary level.

We have sought to educate parents and guardians by including pertinent information on our website, emailing information, and including a page in our school calendar mailer (p. 44). In addition, last May we hosted an evening workshop which included Joseph M. Boyer, MD, a Pediatric Pulmonologist from Westchester Medical Center, as a guest speaker on this topic.

We strongly urge you to have a discussion with your children about the dangers of vaping. The links at the end of this letter provide much information, including suggestions of how to speak with your children as well as a link to assist teens with quitting. The vast majority of students have told us they would never smoke cigarettes. Most likely this is due to the anti-tobacco education they have received since elementary school. We are working toward the goal of getting that same reaction to vaping.

Most important is your message to your children about the dangers and potentially lifelong adverse effects of vaping. The addictive nature of nicotine and its effects on young, developing brains poses a serious threat to students’ health and well-being. In addition to nicotine, these products include oils associated with the recent deaths, and many other chemical and carcinogenic compounds. 

The links below contain recent information, but there is much more you can find by searching the web:

 

If you think your child needs assistance to stop vaping, this link provides that help in a teen friendly format:

Please feel free to contact us at the District Office. We welcome your insight and suggestions as we work together to address and eliminate this serious threat to our students’ health. 

 

Sincerely,

Sue Sherlock
Coordinator of Health Services

 

Sincerely, 

Martin D. Cox
Superintendent of Schools