Loudoun County, VA – In light of recent headlines regarding a surge in vaping-related illnesses, Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman is warning parents and teenagers alike of the potential dangers of vaping.
These electronic nicotine delivery systems, also known as electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes, Vapes and JUULs, are advertised as a lower-risk alternative for smokers. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an advisory after reporting 215 cases since late June from 25 states of severe respiratory disease possibly tied to vaping.
In an effort to educate the public on the potential health concerns with these devices, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) released an informational video today to discuss vaping among our youth. “Unfortunately they have become popular among teenagers nationally at epidemic levels, and because they emit very low amounts of vapor or aerosol, they are often used during school hours, in school bathrooms and even classrooms,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman in the video. “In just the past year, high-school-aged students using electronic cigarettes increased 78%. In Loudoun County, vapes have been found on students in both middle and high school,” he added. (View the video here)
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the same addictive drug in cigarettes. Some e-cigarettes may contain as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes. A consensus report conducted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine reviewed over 800 studies and also made clear that e-cigarettes both contain and emit a number of potentially toxic substances, and the inhalation of harmful chemicals can cause irreversible lung damage and lung disease.
“Even more disconcerting is what else can be inhaled from these devices,” said Sheriff Chapman. “Recently members of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office uncovered vapes containing THC, a butane hash oil. The concentration in the vape cartridges was 95 percent THC. This is well over 10 times more potent than a typical marijuana plant seized during my days as an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration.”
A nationwide study found that high school students using electronic cigarettes increased 78% last year and efforts are being made at the federal and state level to limit the access and promotion of vapor products to children. In July 2019, a new law took effect in Virginia prohibiting the purchase or possession of tobacco products, nicotine vapor products, and alternative nicotine products by a person under 21 years of age, or the sale of these products to persons under 21 years of age.
In Loudoun County, the LCSO begins discussing vaping devices in the D.A.R.E. program at both the elementary and middle school level. The agency is also working with Loudoun County Public Schools to deliver a series of educational forums on vaping. In partnership with the Prevention Alliance of Loudoun (PAL), the LCSO will hold a Vaping, JUULing, and Internet Safety seminar on November 7, 2019, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Sterling Library, located at 22330 S. Sterling Boulevard.
Additional forums are being planned for this fall and will be held throughout the county at various Loudoun County Public Schools. Please follow @loudounsheriff on Facebook and Twitter for future dates, times, and locations of these forums.
As part of the educational campaign, residents can also find up-to-date information on the LCSO website at sheriff.loudoun.gov/vapes. The information includes important resources for parents, including a tip sheet on how to talk to your teen about vaping.