Pontiac, MI - Oakland County, Oakland Schools, and the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities announced a strategic partnership to align resources to improve youth vaping prevention education efforts.
Oakland County Executive David Coulter, along with Oakland County Health Officer Leigh-Anne Stafford, Oakland Schools Superintendent Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, and Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities President & CEO Julie Brenner, discussed the collaboration today at a news conference at the North Oakland Health Center in Pontiac.
“This partnership is focused on providing education, advocating for changes in public policy, and creating a healthier environment,” said Coulter. “By working together, we can move the needle on how many teens are endangering themselves by using e-cigarettes.”
In 2017, 44.5% of Michigan high school students reported using e-cigarettes in comparison to the 31.3% of who reported smoking traditional, combustible cigarettes. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine - the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products. Some e-cigarette products can contain as much nicotine as 20 regular cigarettes. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can harm the developing brain, which continues to develop until about age 25, and can impact learning, memory, attention and increase the risk for future drug addiction. In addition to nicotine, the aerosol that is inhaled and exhaled from e-cigarettes contains harmful substances such as heavy metals which can be inhaled deeply into the lungs.
“Vaping is a serious public health issue that is putting the health of our youth at risk,” Stafford said. “This strategic partnership with Oakland Schools and the Alliance will align substance use prevention and education efforts to increase awareness about the dangers of vaping and tobacco use.”
As of October 8, 1,299 vaping-associated lung injury cases have been reported across the country with 26 deaths confirmed in 21 states. Michigan had its first vaping-related death reported on October 2 and currently has 30 confirmed or probable vaping-related lung injury cases statewide. Among Michigan cases, 13% are under 18 years old and 80% are between 18 and 34 years old.
“It’s a growing concern across Oakland County. We are seeing an increase in the number of vaping cases concerning students,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, superintendent of Oakland Schools. “Through the Michigan Model for Health state curriculum, we have to increase our efforts to provide education and support. “
“Vaping is a top concern in communities throughout Oakland County,” said Brenner. “We must continue to work together on community-wide education and enforcement to create a healthier, safer environment for our youth.”
Residents are advised to follow these guidelines:
- Do not use vaping products containing THC.
- Consider refraining from using any e-cigarette product.
- Immediately visit your healthcare provider if you have a history of vaping and experience symptoms of lung injury, such as shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting.
- Youth, young adults and women who are pregnant should never use vaping products.
- Never buy any vaping products off the street.
- Do not modify any vaping products, including those purchased through a retailer.
- Adults who don’t use tobacco products currently should not start using e-cigarettes.
- Adults who are vaping should not smoke combustible cigarettes as a replacement for nicotine. Free help is available for individuals who are interested in quitting tobacco at 800-QUIT-NOW.
To request vaping-related resources or education, contact the following organizations:
- Oakland Schools: Call 248-209-2000 or visit oakland.k12.mi.us
For more information about the national investigation of vaping-related lung injuries and deaths, visit www.cdc.gov. For up-to-date public health information, visit www.oakgov.com/health and follow @publichealthOC on Facebook and Twitter.