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People who are concerned about the use of e-cigarettes and “vapes” by their children and grandchildren are invited to a free forum Saturday (Sept. 28) at the Healthy Village Learning Institute.
Founder Keith Murphy said the free information session will begin at 4 p.m. and is expected to last about 90 minutes.
The forum is free and open to the public, said Murphy, who hopes to hold additional sessions in the future on the health risks of vaping.
“There was a call from parents and grandparents saying, my kid is doing this stuff,” Murphy says. “Locally, if we know that our kids are vaping inside middle school, inside high school, that, for us, says we have a building problem right now.”
“One, they aren't old enough to do that stuff,” he says. “Two, the health risks, they don't know anything about.”
Healthy Village is located in the former St. Pius V Catholic School, 1102 Freemont St., just off Versailles Avenue. For more information, call (412) 889-9329.
E-cigarettes, vape pens and similar devices were originally marketed in the United States in 2007 as a tobacco replacement for smokers trying to kick their cigarette habits. Most use a small electric heating element to vaporize a liquid into steam.
Most “vape juices” contain glycerin and flavoring, according to published reports. Some also contain nicotine, the chemical that causes addiction to cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Public health officials have become concerned because rather than using vapes to stop smoking, many teen-agers and young adults are trying them for recreational purposes.
This month, a story published by the Yale University School of Medicine said that a recent national survey showed that 11 percent of high school seniors, 8 percent of 10th-graders and more than 3 percent of eighth-graders had “vaped” during the previous month.
According to CDC research quoted by the Yale story, federal and state officials have reported hundreds of possible cases of pulmonary disease that they have linked to vaping, including several deaths. Some regular vape users reported illnesses similar to those experienced by smokers, including shortness of breath, coughing and chest pain.
The CDC has said that preliminary evidence suggests that the illnesses are being caused by exposure to some chemical in the vape fluids, but that further research is necessary, according to the Yale Medicine story.
“We need to educate the community about the health risks of vaping,” Murphy says. “It's not just a ‘cool’ thing. You can’t just say, ‘Well, this ain't a cigarette, so it's all right.’ No, no, no — if your lungs get affected by this, maybe it shortens your life. The ‘cool’ factor can't be the reason why you do it.”
Jason Togyer is the editor of The Tube City Almanac and volunteer executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published September 27, 2019.