From Health Services: Vaping & What You Need to Know
Angela Juurlink, M.Ed & Sarah O'Neill

“Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. The term is used because e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, but rather an aerosol, often mistaken for water vapor, that actually consists of fine particles. Many of these particles contain varying amounts of toxic chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart disease.” - Center on Addiction

Vaping is a current health issue affecting young people across the nation. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there have been over 805 cases of severe lung illness in the past few months in the US and 17 deaths, with that number rising daily. The lung illnesses have been directly connected to vaping both nicotine and THC. Although many patients are recovering and able to engage in day-to- day activities freely, the scarring will be permanent.

This trend has been especially challenging for boarding schools. E-cigarettes contain nicotine and are as highly addictive as regular cigarettes. As a campus that has a zero tolerance drug, alcohol, and nicotine policy, Tilton School has worked hard to properly address this situation for the health and safety of our students. One of the crucial aspects of doing so is education. Our health and wellness team has distributed information regarding the numerous dangers of vaping, but there is a lot of mixed information out there regarding what is causing the severe lung damage. 

What is known is that patients reported different types of solutions and chemicals - there was not a single variable identified. This is why the CDC and most health organizations are simply telling people to stop vaping. 

An interesting study from the Houston Baylor College of Medicine was recently published. They exposed mice to the following vaping possibilities: nicotine, tobacco, THC, and then just the solution itself (no added nicotine or THC). An unexpected outcome from this study was that the solution used to deliver the product - to make the chemicals "vapable" - gave mice a high level of fat build up in their lungs. The fat build up reduces the chances of anyone fighting off simple illnesses such as the flu or even a cold. That makes a person more susceptible to developing pneumonia and not being able to fight it off resulting in complete lung failure.

Tilton has instituted a vaping cessation program for those looking to quit, as have many other boarding schools in the area. For more information on vaping, how to help someone quit, or how Tilton School is keeping our students healthy, contact our Director of Health Services, Barbara Hanson or School Counselor Angela Juurlink.


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