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Local Experts To Address Teen Vaping At March 14 Meeting

Like school leaders nationwide, officials in McHenry High School District 156 are sounding the alarm on growing use of e-cigarettes -- or vaping -- by teens.

Just in the first semester of this school year, there have been 36 incidents of administrators confiscating vaping materials at McHenry High School - West Campus, compared to 18 during the entire 2017-18 school year.

To help educate high school and middle school families, district administrators are hosting a community meeting March 14 featuring experts in health care, addiction recovery, and law enforcement. The idea is to arm adults with the facts about the dangers of teen vaping.

Representatives from the McHenry Police Department, Northwestern Medicine and Rosecrance were invited to talk about the health effects, addiction risk and legal implications for minors. The meeting starts at 6 p.m March 14 in the auditorium of McHenry High School - West Campus, 4724 W. Crystal Lake Road, McHenry.

“I think many people are surprised about how prevalent teen vaping is,” said McHenry West Principal Marsha Potthoff. “We just want to get the information to families so they can recognize the signs of teen vaping, and know why it is important to stop.”

The U.S. Surgeon General’s office is warning parents about the harm vaping can have on brain development, among other negative effects to health. A November 2018 article on the National Education Association’s website points to the widespread use of e-cigarettes by students nationwide, and the strong potential for addiction.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration calls it an epidemic of youth e-cigarette use, estimating that teen vaping has increased by more than 75 percent from 2017 to 2018 to an estimated 3.6 million students.

The McHenry community meeting is hosted in cooperation with local middle schools specifically for parents and guardians. In addition to organizing the community meeting, District 156 administrators are providing a variety of educational programs for teachers and students.