An Elk Grove school trustee wants her district to focus on educating students about the dangers of “vaping” or using electronic cigarette devices.
Bobbie Singh-Allen asked the Elk Grove school district’s staff for information and resources about vaping for students and parents during the board’s Oct. 1 meeting.
“I’ve been hearing more and more from different students and parents about vaping, that it’s really growing, and there just seems to be a nonchalant social acceptance that it’s there and they don’t really understand the dangers associated with it,” she said near the end of the meeting.
The trustee added that schools have an obligation to educate students about the risks of vaping.
Singh-Allen’s request was made during the same week when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced there were 1,080 cases of e-cigarette users suffering from lung injuries across the United States, as of Oct. 1. They also reported there were 15 confirmed deaths.
The CDC stated that most of the lung injury patients have a history of using vape cartridges that contained THC, the same psychoactive compound found in marijuana. They added that 80% of the patients are under age 35.
Singh-Allen told the Citizen that she heard from several students who have peers who vape.
“When I asked them if they knew the dangers, they all said no,” she said. “Generally, they indicated there is social acceptance for vaping, and that it is easy to conceal. I am alarmed at the tolerance for vaping and the minimal education associated with it.”
The trustee said that she heard about students vaping at home, a friend’s house, or a park, but not at school.
Xanthi Pinkerton, a spokesperson for the Elk Grove school district, told the Citizen that her district updated their school policy to prohibit vaping on campuses back in 2015. She added there are also no-smoking signs that prohibit vaping at schools, and that information about vaping is featured in the district’s parent/student handbook.
The district’s Youth Development Office plans to address vaping during their substance abuse prevention workshop on Nov. 6 at Katherine Albiani Middle School, Elk Grove.
Singh-Allen told the Citizen that she wants students to regularly get information on vaping, just like how schools inform them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
“I fear (vaping) will become habit-forming and that we aren’t doing our part to educate parents and children,” she said. “I would love to see an anonymous survey on this to truly see how widespread it is and how little or misinformed students are on vaping.”