There were times were planking, Gangnam style dancing or just taking a selfie were the popular go-to trends among youth. Sometimes, trends can go awry. Vaping has become one of the latest trends among teens and young adults. Last week, during Red Ribbon Week, Sampson Middle School held a parent information session to inform both students and parents just how dangerous vaping could be.
Red Ribbon Week is designated for schools to join in an annual fight against drug and alcohol abuse. The week is also designated to fight against bullying. Sampson Middle held a variety of events to commemorate the week and try to have a little fun along the way.
On Monday, the school wore red as a sign that they were united to fight against bullying and drug and alcohol abuse. The school also hosted a vaping workshop at 6 p.m. with the intention of warning the attendees of the hazards that come with vaping.
No one fully knows what the future holds for those who vape. Sampson Middle leaders handed out information explaining how vaping could lead to brain damage in the prefrontal cortex, which impacts decision making, emotions and impulse control. Vaping also leads to a higher risk of heart disease and it contains cancer-causing chemicals.
The school informed attendees that vaping devices contained heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead. It could lead to wide-spread irritation in the eyes, mucus membranes, skin and lungs, they said. The school obtained all of their information on vaping from the American Heart Association.
According to the American Heart Association, “Vaping is becoming an increasing epidemic among teens. In 2018, e-cigarette use nearly doubled in high school students.”
“We want to educate parents and students on the possible outcomes of this experimental activity,” Sampson Middle School Counselor Katrina Boykin stated. “We’re responsible for them even after they leave here.”
Boykin noted that the school wanted not only to inform the public about vaping, but also to keep them safe and healthy throughout their lives. Middle school is just a stepping stone, but it is one that helps to shape students into the people they will become. The middle school is responsible for at least 705 students, according to Boykin.
The vaping session had a speaker come for the event. The presenter was Ernest Watts, Region 8 Southeastern, North Carolina Tobacco Prevention Lead of Lumberton.
Boykin noted the event was just the kickoff to the Red Ribbon Week.
Tuesday was twin day, a chance for students to see how alcohol and drug abuse can make people see double.
Wednesday, the school had a pep rally inviting all the students to wear black and gold to team up against drugs, alcohol and bullying.
The students said boo to drugs by wearing costumes on Thursday. The students also had a Lunch and Learn on Friday where speakers came during lunch time and tables were set up for students.
“If we can deter any students from getting involved with vaping, then we have helped,” Boykin mentioned. “We’re looking for life after this.”
During the parent session on Monday, parents were handed flyers to better equip them with ways to talk with their children about e-cigarettes. All of the information can be found at https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/
Brendaly Vega Davis can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2588