SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Multiple counties are about to do compliance checks for vaping and tobacco shops, but how do we plan to keep these products out of the hands of teens?
Things change, people change, but some things stay the same. The vaping trend has crept it’s way into schools just like cigarettes once did, but something about vaping just seems cooler to teenagers these days. Respiratory therapist and counselor Anne Bristow at Citizens Memorial Hospital says people are starting very early.
“I just heard from a middle school counselor today that the youngest she was aware of was 10,” Bristow said. “We’ve heard of 11 and 13-year-olds. I heard of several 12-year-olds from that same counselor.”
Now, Bristow leads classes to get teens to stop before the damage is done. She does small classes, up to four at a time, a couple of times a week.
Bristow believes the more intimate setting helps get the message across.
“A lot of education, just making them aware of the false advertising that they have kind of bought the lie – thought that vaping was a better option than smoking,” Bristow said. “Not even harmful is the way it was portrayed.”
A big hook is letting kids know that it will ruin not only their lungs but also their teeth and gums, affecting their smile. Bristow says the best line of defense for kids, is their parents.
“I think the more they know the more they can educate their children,” Bristow said. “They were portrayed as, ‘Oh this is a safer alternative, and this will help you quit smoking if you smoke.’ Honestly, a lot of the parents were duped first.”
If you want to get your teen into one of these classes, call 417-628-6574.