Rising Concerns of Youth E-Cigarette Use in Indiana
Statistics concerning children and e-cigarettes are becoming increasingly concerning in Fort Wayne, Indiana (WANE). This is an issue that every parent should be aware of before sending their child to school this year.
In the state of Indiana, from 2012 to 2018, the use of electronic cigarettes among high school students increased by 400% and among middle school students by 360%.
Mary Claire Clark, President and CEO of the Allen County Drug and Alcohol Consortium, stated that the use of electronic cigarettes among young people is becoming an epidemic. "The youngest we've seen in our investigations may be fourth-grade students," she said.
Clark stated that companies like JUUL, worth millions of dollars, should bear most of the responsibility for causing children to become addicted.
From the outset, their flavor profiles and marketing were aimed at a younger demographic, as they were aware that this cohort of Generation Z is at a critical age for decision-making, and they did not want electronic cigarettes to taste like traditional cigarettes," said Mari Clarke.
Parents like Jana Clark have five children between the ages of 15 and 24, and she states that e-cigarettes are highly attractive to young children. They can use e-cigarettes very discreetly at school without being detected. Jana Clark says, "My children will come home with stories of students using e-cigarettes during class. You know, they just casually slide the e-cigarette up their hoodie sleeves, making it look like they are drinking from a water bottle or something, but they are actually smoking and exhaling smoke.
Although Jana Clark believes that her children have never used e-cigarettes, as a parent, she says you can never be too sure. "Honestly, I say that they have never used e-cigarettes, but I don't know if they have tried it because it is common among young people. When they go out with friends, I'm not sure if they will try it," said Jana Clark.
Jana Clark stated that they are currently working with local schools to develop strategies to replace suspension or expulsion for students caught using e-cigarettes. "We are looking for a more educational and supportive approach. These children are being specifically targeted by a strategy from a massive machine worth millions, if not billions, that knows how to get them addicted to a substance," said Mary Claire Clark.
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