School Committee Invites Parents to Learn About ‘Vaping’ Trend Among Teens

Most middle and high school students in Haverhill carry pens and flash drives, legitimate devices they use every day in class.

But a percentage of those familiar-looking tools likely are e-cigarettes (pictured), used by millions of American teenagers to ingest nicotine and marijuana.

Electronic cigarettes are designed to simulate the feeling of smoking tobacco. It works by heating a liquid to generate an aerosol, commonly called a vapor, that the user inhales, which is referred to as vaping. Many brands of e-cigarettes are designed to look like ink pens.

Another brand, Juul, has become popular among young people. The e-cigarette is small, emits very little vapor and is easily hidden. Resembling a flash drive stick, the device can be plugged into a classroom computer to recharge. A small cartridge containing flavored liquid mixed with nicotine attaches to the battery section. Using the device is referred to as juuling.

Registered nurse Diane Knight of Haverhill will talk about “vaping and juuling” at Thursday night’s School Committee meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. City Council Chambers on the second floor of Haverhill City Hall. The meeting is open to the public and parents are urged to attend.

Knight is director of the Northeast Tobacco Free Community Partnership and has been working to reduce smoking prevalence and exposure to secondhand smoke throughout the Merrimack Valley and Northeast Massachusetts for 20 years.

Knight’s presentation is meant to give parents ideas about how to talk to their children about the growing trend of vaping among young people.

According to information provided by the partnership, nearly half of Massachusetts high school students say they have tried e-cigarettes.

Medical experts say that the use of e-cigarettes is dangerous, especially for young people, because they contain nicotine, which is addictive, and increases the potential that they will move on to smoking cigarettes.