Letter from Dr. Benson: The Dangers of Vaping

Dear Deerfield Academy Parents and Guardians,

As we enjoy this time with our families during the summer break, I am writing to ask you to please take a few moments and discuss with your child a very important health-related matter. Unfortunately, the past few years have seen a dramatic and staggering increase in the use of vaping and e-cigarette devices amongst teenagers nationally and also here at Deerfield Academy. These products have been advertised as safe alternatives to cigarettes, but this claim is blatantly false. The misnomer that vaping is harmless needs to be dispelled, and your continued conversations with your teenager about the risks of vaping can help reduce the incidence of this behavior.

As a reminder, e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance. A teenager’s brain continues to develop through their mid 20’s, and nicotine exposure on developing brains can cause long term risks such as impulse control problems, mood disorders, and addiction. Vaping products also contain highly poisonous chemicals such as propylene oxide, acrylamide, acrylonitrile, and diacetyl.

Below are helpful and easy-to-use resources to review as you consider how to talk to your teenager.

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/index.htm

http://makesmokinghistory.org/dangers-of-vaping/

https://drugfree.org/parent-blog/how-to-talk-with-your-kids-about-vaping-guide/

Please take some time this summer and during the upcoming year to have these very important conversations with your child. As a parent we sometimes feel these conversations (and the eye-rolling we often get in return) are not effective; however, study after study proves otherwise.

Thank you for partnering with us in addressing this increasingly important health matter for our community.

Take care and have a wonderful last few weeks of summer,

 

Bryant “Bear” Benson MD, FAAP
Director of Medical Services
Robert and Harriet Dewey Chair in Adolescent Medicine
Deerfield Academy Health and Wellness Center
Deerfield, Massachusetts

 

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