Parent letter regarding e-cigarettes/vaping

January 25, 2018

Dear Parents/Guardians,

School districts throughout New Jersey have recently seen an increase in the student use of electronic cigarettes and vaping pens. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 out of every 4 middle and high school students uses electronic vaping products. Common additives used in electronic cigarettes include nicotine, flavorings and caffeine. In high doses, these substances may have negative effects on adolescent brain development. Additionally, e-cigarettes are devices that can be used as a delivery system for cannabinoids and potentially other illicit drugs.

As the contents of an electronic smoking device are not easily identified and can range from tobacco to a controlled dangerous substance, students found in possession of an electronic smoking device or its components, will be considered under suspicion of the influence of drugs while at school or a school sanctioned event. Parents/Guardians will be called immediately. The student will be checked by the school nurse and sent out for an immediate medical examination and drug screening.

Upon return to school, the student will be required to meet with the Student Assistance Counselor in order to candidly discuss the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco products.

Here are some signs to look for to detect the use of e-cigarettes:

  • E-cigarettes and vape pens may not smell bad like the smoke from burning tobacco, however, most have flavors in them that usually smell like fruit, candy or mints. If you catch a sudden aroma, this may be a red flag.
  • "Pens" that aren't pens: These electronic devices need to be charged. The atomizers are a vital part of e- cigarettes as they turn the juice/fluids into vapor; they usually hold around 1.8 ml of e-Liquid. Together, with a pen style battery, they make the ensemble look like a fancy fountain pen and may have a very elegant and discreet look which can be carried anywhere. The entire assembly is designed to look like a pen, marker or other gadget. Look for buttons, lights or parts that pull apart and have cartridges that may contain the fluids to be burned.
  • Excessive dry mouth/dry skin and/or increasing nose bleeds.
  • Possession of pen-like devices or other objects that may need to be charged.

New Jersey became the third state to raise the age for buying cigarettes and tobacco products to 21 under a new law. The law raises the minimum age for buying and selling both tobacco and electronic smoking devices from 19 to 21.

It is our hope that through the efforts of home and school, our students will refrain from using such devices. We strongly encourage you to have a conversation with your child about the dangers of e-cigarettes.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation. Please feel free to contact your school counselor or the District Mental Health Coordinator, Andrew Evangelista, at 973-509-4000 x4170 with any questions or concerns you may have.

Sincerely,
Barbara Pinsak
Interim Superintendent

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