Schools are starting soon. Parents have a list to prepare their children for a new year. One item is backpacks.

Parents should know about something that their teen may put in that backpack. Candy and fruit flavored tobacco products, including vaping tools. Teens are targeted to use these products through sweet flavors such as: watermelon, chocolate, grape and strawberry. These flavors are found in little cigars and vaping products.

Advertising has led teens and parents to think that vaping is safe. It is not. Scientific studies have identified hundreds of chemicals in the vapor of mainstream smoke or in the secondhand side stream. This is not harmless water vapor! Chemicals like benzene (pesticides/gasoline), isoprene (synthetic rubber manufacturing), formaldehyde (preserving dead bodies), propylene glycol (antifreeze) and cadmium (heavy metal used in car batteries) to name a few.

I am sure you have seen or read the reports about the teens across Wisconsin, hospitalized with lung damage — they all vaped. One person is on life support. Vaping does permanent damage to the lungs — think lung transplant down the line.

I would encourage parents to visit tobaccoischanging.com to learn more about these products and health risks both to user and secondhand vapor. Every student I have talked with about vaping said it happens right in school, all the time. Ask your student. You might be very surprised at their answer.

Joyce Erickson

Kenosha

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