Like cigarettes, vaping is illegal to people under 18 years of age.
By Elaine Owen, Editor
Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee warns of dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes. In a press release Sept. 6, 2018, Sosebee said during the last week, several teens in Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens counties have experienced medical emergencies as a result of “vaping,” by use of electronic cigarettes. These medical emergencies necessitated treatment by both EMS and treatment at hospitals. The number of incidents within such a short time frame in our area is alarming. The District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriffs Offices and School Systems in Pickens, Gilmer and Fannin counties, are working in conjunction to address these issues not only in our schools, but in our community as well.
E-cigarettes are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “vapes,” “juuls,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).” Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items. These battery-operated devices deliver nicotine, flavorings and other substances in the form of an aerosol that users inhale. Bystanders can breathe in the aerosol when the user exhales.
There has been a significant increase in e-cigarette use in recent years, particularly among kids and teens, but the lack of oversight leaves concerns unanswered about the health and safety of these products. According to the American Lung Association, “Nearly 500 brands and 7,700 flavors of e-cigarettes are on the market and none of them have been evaluated by the FDA. We don’t know for sure what’s in them.”
The liquid that is inhaled, known commonly as “vape juice,” can contain any number of substances: it can contain flavoring; it can contain nicotine; it can also contain drugs and illegal substances such as THC oil, fentanyl and LSD.
Of great concern, the user may or may not know what they are inhaling, what their reaction will be to the substances, what they are exposing others to and may erroneously believe that they are simply inhaling “harmless water vapor.” There is nothing harmless about what is occurring.
Sosebee said, “We are asking parents, guardians and all those with children in their care to be aware of the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes.”
Since July 1, 2014, it is against the law in Georgia to sell or distribute any electronic cigarette to a person who is under the age of 18 years old. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is urging caution about the use and exposure of children to electronic nicotine delivery systems, including electronic cigarettes and other emissions producing products.
DPH asks adults to warn children and young adults of the dangers of electronic nicotine delivery systems and to keep these products out of reach of young children. Emissions from electronic nicotine delivery products may include formaldehyde, propylene glycol, acetaldehyde, acrolein, lead, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines in addition to nicotine.
“These chemicals are toxic, and are particularly dangerous for children,” said Jean O’Connor, JD, DrPH, director of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for DPH.
“Parents should not allow children to handle electronic cigarettes or similar devices.
They contain liquid chemicals which, if swallowed, could cause serious health complications.”
To learn more, go to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco and U.S. Surgeon General website at https://ecigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov. You may also reach the District Attorney’s office at 706-632-2496 (Fannin), 706-635-5381 (Gilmer) and 706-253-3511 (Pickens) and on Facebook at District Attorney, Appalachian Judicial Circuit.
Thanks to Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney, Gilmer County School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, Pickens County School Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson, Fannin County Sheriff Dane Kirby, Gilmer County Sheriff Stacy Nicholson and Pickens County Sheriff Donnie Craig, and all those in those departments, for their immediate attention and action to help keep our kids safe.