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Online Seminar Wednesday to Dissect Dangers of Vaping, How to Quit

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Evidence shows that more middle school students are vaping – though many attempt to hide it in school bathrooms, behind seats on school buses, or by blowing the exhaled vapor into their sweatshirts or jackets in classrooms and hallways – has families, teachers and school administrators concerned about serious short and long-term health effects, impaired learning and social-emotional and behavioral consequences.

To address the issue head on, including the fact that many youth and adults believe vaping – the use of an electronic smoking device – is less risky than cigarettes, Waimea Middle School is partnering up with Hawai’i Island Public Health Institute, the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai’i and Waimea Community Association to present a one-hour “Vaping 101” virtual talk story from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23.

To reach as many in the community as possible, the presentation will be streamed live on both Waimea Middle School’s and Waimea Community Association’s Facebook pages, and saved for later viewing free on demand on YouTube.

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Addressing vaping isn’t new at Waimea Middle School. Well before COVID hit, WMS Principal Janice English – a science teacher at heart – was meeting with classrooms of students about the health risks of vaping and nicotine to hearts, lungs and developing brains.

Then COVID forced students into distance and hybrid learning which has exacerbated the issue, English said.

Joining her and WCA President James Hustace in the virtual presentation will be:

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● WMS Counselor Lori Ching, who is currently a graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in school counseling. She is often WMS’ front-line resource for teachers and staff to work one-on-one and with small groups of students who might be vaping – or tempted to try it.

● Sally Ancheta, Hawai’i Island Community Coordinator with Hawai’i Island Public Health Institute. She oversees the work of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai’i Island and is dedicated to educating communities about the harms of tobacco/vape use.

● Josh Ching, a Kamehameha Schools, Kapalama Campus senior who will attend Yale in the Fall of 2022. He is a member of Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai’i’s Youth Council and will share his perspective of the youth vaping epidemic, including how big tobacco uses social media and kid-friendly flavors to appeal to and hook minors, and how the community can get involved in advocating for changes to protect youth.

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● Kevin Ramirez, the 808NOVAPE campaign coordinator, who has provided youth vaping prevention education, support and resources to educators and community members across the state since 2017.

● Amanda Fernandes, Hawai’i Island Public Health Institute’s director of policy and advocacy. She works with community stakeholders, other nonprofit organizations, elected officials and government agencies to create a healthier Hawai‘i through policy change.

Speakers will share current research about the dangers of electronic smoking, including about the amount of nicotine in most vaping products, its addictive nature and medical impacts such as the fact that vapers are 56% more likely to have a heart attack, and that nicotine harms the developing brain, impacting memory, attention, concentration, cognition and impulse control.

Community resources to help prevent and quit vaping will be shared.

Questions about vaping may be emailed beforehand to [email protected] They also can be typed into the chat to be answered during the program as time permits.

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