SIDNEY — The dangers of vaping among America’s youth is something to be concerned about, said Shelby County Chief Deputy Jim Frye.
Frye, who was standing in for Sheriff John Lenhart for his weekly interview, said there are health consequences associated with vaping.
“There have been 2,172 medical cases associated with vaping,” said Frye of the up-to-date data. “Of those, 15 percent of them are children under the age of 18.”
Frye said there have been 42 confirmed deaths associated with vaping.
“The U.S. Surgeon General has reported there are dangerous ingredients in the e-liquids,” said Frye..
This can include particles that can enter your lungs, he said, and cause problems. The flavorings of the liquids, along with heavy metals, can cause serious health problems.
“Last year, there w ere 10 cases (locally) that involved vape devises in school,” said Frye. “Two of the cases involved THC. Another was a student selling a vaping cartridge that had THC in it.”
Vaping liquids, he said, have Vitamin E acetate in them, which can cause health issues for people vaping. It can be used as a thickening agent in vaping liquids.
Vaping devices, he said, can be varied and many parents and teachers don’t realize the child is vaping at home or at school.
Vaping devices can look like pens, a key fob such as a car device, USB drives, a vape backpack or within a smart watches. Some students use a a hoodie, that includes a device — tubes — placed in the draw strings of the hoodie and the student can be vaping by putting the string in their mouth.
“I wouldn’t think twice if a saw someone with the strings in their mouth,” said Frye. “We need to educate parents and teachers on what they should be looking for.
Dr. Michael Siegel, who is affiliated with Boston University, said parents should have an honest conversation with their children about the dangers of vaping.
“We need to take the glamour out of vaping,” said Frye. “Parents and teachers need to know the signs that a child is vaping.”
The state of Ohio, he said, has made it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase/use tobacco products and vaping products.
A survey of 45,000 students found one in there high school students have tried vaping, said Frye. Two-thirds of those surveyed only use flavored liquid.
“Vaping liquid can come in fruit flavors or candy flavors such as Skittles,” said Frye. “The students think it’s less harmful, but it’s not.”
The juices, he said, can mask the taste of the THC oils. Of the seniors you are vaping, 51.8 percent of them only use flavored fluids.
“One in 10 of the students surveyed said they have vaped marijuana,”” said Frye. “Some don’t know what’s in the vaping reservoir so they have no idea that vaping is harmful.”
Frye said the median age of the 2,172 people hospitalized after vaping is 24 years of age.
“Those patients range in age from 13 to 75 years old,” he said. “Fourteen percent of those hospitalized are under 18 years of age.”
The number climbs to 40 percent for hospitalization for people ages 18 to 24 years. The age group 25 to 34 years of age has 25 percent of those ending up in the hospital. Of those 35 and older who were hospitalized, the percentage is 21.
Frye said of those hospitalized, 86 percent were vaping a product which contained THC.
“I don’t understand why the students are vaping,” said Frye. “They don’t understand how dangerous it is. You see people vaping every where you go.”
A recent story in the news involved a 16-year-old who needed a double-lung transplant because the vaping liquid destroyed his lungs.
For more information about vaping, visit https://bit.ly/2rUtxmk.
The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.