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Ridgefield Addresses Vaping Problems Before They Begin

Ridgefield Addresses Vaping Problems Before They Begin

Jan. 2, 2020

By Chris Gilson, CCM communications writer 

As of the end of October, there have been over 1,600 people who have experienced some kind of illness and more than 30 people who have died as a result of vaping. It is a nationwide problem that has seen much of the headway in smoking cessation amongst teenagers lost to this newest fad that combines electronics and smoking in harmful ways. Ridgefield understands the devastating effects of vaping and has been at the forefront of stemming the issue.

According to the center on addiction, a proper definition of vaping is the “act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device.” These devices range from cigarette-styled mouthpieces to the popular USB-styled JUUL, both of which have many flavors and often contain nicotine, but sometimes contain other chemicals like THC or illicit and dangerous synthetic drugs like flakka.

Because of their style, they are easily concealable items, and don’t present the same way that traditional cigarette smoke does. This has made them especially popular in schools. One initiative that Ridgefield has taken was to install specialized electronic vaping detectors at Ridgefield High School in February of this year. Just over 20 students were caught with the devices in the previous year, according to administrators quoted in the Ridgefield Press.

Before the habit starts back to top

For the administrators, they hope to instill in students before the habit even starts. It is mandated that ninth and twelfth grade health classes include information about the dangers of vaping and ninth grade and eleventh grade students must attend lectures by anti-drug guest speakers who touch on the dangers of vaping.

This crisis has hit a tipping point with the increase in illness and death associated with vaping, which has sparked calls by CCM to state legislature to address vaping, while certain lawmakers has approached the idea to look at an outright ban. Part of the problem is that many illnesses are directly related to products that have come from the black market.

The Washington Post said that black market operators are using more thickening agents to dilute THC oil — which is already an illegal substance — while other manufacturers might be adding things that were never supposed to be smoked in the first place.

While traditional cigarette smoking amongst teens is at an all-time low, and CT laws that have raised the age to buy tobacco products to 21 will likely help lower that rate further. But vaping has taken up some of that gained ground by appealing to younger teens with popular flavors and cool devices. Ridgefield is doing its part by taking up the longstanding practice of stopping the problem before everything goes up in smoke.