Two Chilliwack high school students were sent to hospital last week with vaping-related illnesses prompting the principal to warn parents to talk to their kids.
In an email message sent out on March 4, Sardis secondary principal Dan Heisler expressed his “growing concern” specifically connected to the two incidents over the previous five days.
“Late last week and again this morning, a Sardis secondary student was rushed to the hospital after vaping prior to the school day using a vape juice that contained nicotine salt (which is sold in local vape stores in Chilliwack),” according to Heisler’s email, which a number of parents forwarded to The Progress.
“In both situations: the student inhaled the vape once, blacked out immediately and the student was unconscious for a short period of time; the vape was borrowed from a friend; an additional side effect described by students/staff in the immediate area included the students ‘foaming at the mouth.’”
Concerns about teen vaping have been on the radar of health officials and school administrators across North America for years. One study found that many young people don’t know what they are inhaling when they use e-cigarettes.
In his email to Sardis secondary parents, Heisler blames nicotine salt specifically, although one parent suggested that others say kids are simply overfilling the vape pens suggesting it can be more a matter of overdosing rather than the substance being used.
Another parent expressed concern about students vaping in washrooms.
Heisler’s email also provided a link to a Fraser Health presentation by Nicci Hallberg, a public health nurse for the Chilliwack School District’s Healthy Schools Program. In it she points to statistics and conclusions from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Vaping products are unlikely to be harmless,” the WHO stated in 2015. “Long-term use is expected to increase the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and possibly cardiovascular disease as well as some other disease as well as some other diseases also associated with smoking.”
Heisler said parents need to talk to teens not only about vaping but about sharing e-cigarettes.
”I am encouraging all parents to have a conversation with their son/daughter regarding the content of this information and the dangers of not only vaping, but the unsanitary practice of using another person’s vape and the use of nicotine salt,” he wrote.
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