Dangers of vaping and other inhalants for teens

Dangers of vaping and other inhalants for teens

On Thursday, May 17, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center will be hosting a free community forum on the dangers of e-cigarettes, vaping and other substances such as new concentrated forms of marijuana.

The forum will be held at the Guidance Center’s Leeds Place location, at 999 Brush Hollow Road in Westbury.

“Marketers are selling teens and even younger kids on the idea that vaping is safe,” said Kathy Knaust, Clinical Supervisor at Leeds Place. “They’re also making the products more appealing to younger ages, including creating products such as fruit- and dessert-flavored vaporizer Juuls and decorative vape pens.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of young people have taken up vaping — a trend that could push back decades of progress in helping prevent kids from taking up smoking.

The U.S. Surgeon General’s office reports that, along with nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain harmful ingredients such as ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs; flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds; and heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead.

The seminar will also discuss the fact that teen marijuana users are also more likely to be exposed to newer, more potent forms of marijuana, including a dangerous marijuana extract called “dabs” that is rapidly gaining in popularity.

“We are seeing many more clients reporting that they’re using THC oil or THC wax,” said Dr. Nellie Taylor-Walthrust, director of the Leeds Place. “It’s a very alarming trend, especially when they can’t know for sure what other substances may be added.”

Information to be covered includes how these marijuana products are produced and the dangerous chemical byproducts that are left as residue.

Said Knaust, “It is a much concentrated form of THC that is addicting and causes hallucinations, psychotic symptoms, ER visits and long-term damage due to the chemicals involved, mostly butane. These are becoming more sought-after products due to the potency and due to the fact that when vaped there is no smell; therefore they can be used undetected in public places or in school or in the home.”

The forum will also feature Nassau County Police Officer Yolanda Turner from Community Affairs at Police Headquarters in Mineola.

The forum is free but registration is required. Contact Dr. Nellie Taylor-Walthrust at (516) 997-2926, ext. 229 or email NTaylorWalthrust@northshorechildguidance.org.