Freshmen health classes attend tobacco, Juul presentations in library


Caitlin Leiker

The representatives from the Smoky Hill Foundation for Chemical Dependency kick off their presentation on tobacco and vaping products by explaining different types of advertising used in the tobacco industry. The presentations took place on Nov. 11 and 18 in the library for the freshman health classes, taught by Haley Wolf.

The Smoky Hill Foundation for Chemical Dependency, Inc. gave a presentation over Juul use and tobacco products to Haley Wolf’s freshman Health class in the library on Nov. 11 and 18.

Wolf emphasized the importance of substance abuse discussions with young people, especially about how to weed out misleading advertising.

“With the way that vaping devices have been marketed, there has been a big misconception that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes,” Wolf said.

Because vaping and e-cigarettes are a relatively new market, Wolf said there is a lot of research that needs to be done before we know just how harmful vaping can be.

“We know that vaping devices have a substantial amount of nicotine in them, so they are highly addictive,” Wolf said. “They also contain thousands of chemicals that are toxic and damaging to our health, specifically the lungs.”

On the CDC’s website, a page dedicated to youth tobacco use states, “If cigarette smoking continues at the current rate among youth in this country, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smoking-related illness.” – that is one out of every 13 minors.

Nearly nine out of 10 adults who smoke cigarettes daily first try smoking by age 18, and 99 percent first try smoking by age 26. Each day in the United States, about 1,600 youth smoke their first cigarette, and nearly 200 youth start smoking every day.

According to the FDA, “On Dec. 20, 2019, the President signed legislation amending the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raising the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product — including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes — to anyone under 21.”

But, that does not stop the tobacco companies marketing the products to appeal to teenagers.

“I think the freshmen have had their eyes opened a little bit with some of the things that were discussed,” Wolf said. “Hopefully, with the information they have received about vaping products, our students will decide to make good choices and live a healthy lifestyle.”