Papillion-La Vista Community Schools is working to combat vaping among teens in its schools. On Dec. 11, the district teamed with the Papillion Police Department and CHI Health to educate parents, students and staff on the dangers vaping.
At the district’s Technology Training Center, school officials and parents gathered for a seminar, which was live streamed on the district’s Facebook page, to take part in a discussion on vaping.
The presentation started with PLCS Superintendent Andy Rikli.
“Vaping is something that’s important to me as an educational leader, it’s important to me as a parent and I know it’s a critical issue for all of you who are here this evening,” he said to the audience.
A panel made up of the district’s two high school principals and school resource officers, a CHI tobacco cessation specialist and a college student who is president of the Metro Omaha Tobacco Action Coalition, addressed the dangerous trend.
The panel talked about the dangers that come along with vaping.
Teri Erickson, the CHI Health panelist, said a lot of people don’t realize the amount of nicotine one Juul pod contains.
Erickson presented information that suggests one Juul pod, a popular electronic cigarette, contains 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine, which students do not realize due to the variety of flavors of the pods or “juice.”
Those who vape, Erickson said, are at risk for bronchiolitis obliterans, otherwise known as “popcorn lung.”
The condition, according to webmd.com, damages lungs’ smallest airways and causes coughing and shortness of breath.
Officer Andrew Mahan, SRO at Papillion-La Vista South High School, explained what vaping items look like.
He also touched on chemicals found in Juul pods which include formaldehyde.
“I point out to them that they are taking that liquid, that chemical and putting it into their body. Vapor and your lungs is already not a good combination,” Mahan said.
“I can’t stress it enough. When I see them with something, I just try to get my point across as much as I can.”
As an SRO, Mahan said he sees all types of students vaping and he urges parents to be on the lookout for vape usage.
“My main concern is just trying to raise awareness to the parents. If you have a feeling or ever had a thought that your student might be doing this, chances are it’s worth looking into,” he said. “We care about our students.”
When students are caught vaping in the high schools, both principals get parents involved and discipline them by suspension, said Jerry Kalina, principal at Papillion-La Vista High School.
To watch the full seminar, visit plcschools.org or visit Papillion La Vista Community Schools on Facebook.
To get help for vapers, visit teen.smokefree.gov.