Nearly a third of Ventura County eleventh graders say they have tried vaping.
The Ventura County Office of Education has launched a new website called The Triple Threat to Teen Health that’s aimed at combatting the serious problem of teen vaping. The website is available in English and Spanish at vaping.vcoe.org. “While many may think vaping is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, the most popular vaping products all contain nicotine and have a high potential for addiction,” said Dr. César Morales, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools. “This new website gives parents, guardians, students and educators an important tool to learn about the real risks that vaping poses to our students,” he said.
Nearly a third of Ventura County eleventh graders say they have tried vaping. Many young people are attracted to the thousands of sweet flavor options and slick new device designs used by the vaping industry. In addition to vaping nicotine products, students are using e-cigarettes to consume concentrated cannabis (marijuana). Both nicotine and cannabis use can permanently affect adolescent brain development.
Just before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was investigating cases of severe lung injuries caused by the vaping of these unregulated cannabis products. A recent Stanford University School of Medicine study showed a strong link between youth vaping and an increased risk of lung injury related to COVID-19 infection. Additional research by the University of California and Stanford University has found a concerning connection between nicotine, cannabis, and electronic vaping products.
In an effort to address this risk, the Ventura County Office of Education’s Comprehensive Health and Prevention Programs department has created a new website called The Triple Threat to Teen Health. The site is intended for use by parents, guardians, families, and school staff. It provides an initial introduction to these three intersecting issues that pose a significant health risk to today’s young people. It also offers local resources for those who would like to learn more or to get help with addiction.
While the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) shows that Ventura County students’ use of conventional cigarettes has been on a downward trend for the last two decades, vaping devices are being used at dramatically higher rates at every measured grade level. Only recently has the initial data from the most recent CHKS suggested that student vaping behaviors have dropped slightly. In addition, students’ “perception of harm” caused by vaping devices has increased dramatically – across all grade levels and in nearly every demographic. While additional analyses are pending, this suggests that public messaging and education on the risks of vaping are having an impact on teens.
The Ventura County Office of Education provides a broad array of fiscal, training and technology support services to local school districts, helping to maintain and improve lifelong educational opportunities for children, educators and community members. VCOE also operates schools that serve students with severe disabilities and behavioral issues, provides career education courses, and coordinates countywide academic competitions including Mock Trial and the Ventura County Science Fair. Learn more at: www.vcoe.org.