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The dangers of youth vaping are real; here’s what you can do

As a parent, one of the hardest things has been to see my child struggle in his life. I have wondered whether there was anything I could have done to help make his life easier.

When I was a child I was witness to my parents’ struggles with cigarettes leading to my father’s emphysema. They were victims of the tobacco companies’ efforts to hide the truth about the mental and physical health consequences of these highly addictive and glamorized nicotine smoking products.

The current school-aged nicotine vaping epidemic sure looks like they are at it again. What else do you call the glamorous ads for bubble gum and cotton candy nicotine vapes that provide as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.

Scientists, university researchers and doctors agree that vaping these highly addictive flavored nicotine products changes the developing brain in school-age children and not in a good way, putting nicotine and other toxic chemical into the lungs, brain and the entire body.

When I was District Attorney and especially as Administrator of the Plumas County Drug Court, I saw first hand the struggles of county residents whose lives had been reshaped by addiction.

Although not initially as toxic, nicotine is probably the toughest addiction for most people to overcome.

The vaping epidemic has come to Plumas County, with documented use at least down to fifth grade. There are teens struggling to kick the habit. The latest products are smokeless and odorless making detection difficult, delivering addictive and dangerous chemicals smoke and pain free.

Education of parents, banning sales of flavored nicotine products, engaging the medical community, providing medical and mental health services, and other interventions have proven

successful in reducing school-age vaping.

PLEASE become informed and involved in bringing Plumas County resources to bear to protect our children.

A good place to start is flavorshookkids.org, created by the California Department of Public Health, to provide information for parents to better understand and address the vaping epidemic.

If you agree that the Board of Supervisors should make a public statement by joining the 24 cities and six counties that have banned the sale of flavored nicotine products by enacting a flavor ban for nicotine products, contact your supervisor.

For local information and resources contact the Plumas County Public Health Agency.

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