The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office has launched a campaign to warn parents and teenagers of the potential risks of vaping.
According to Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office officials, electronic nicotine delivery systems — more commonly known as vapes, electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes and sold by popular companies such as JUUL — are advertised as a low-risk alternative for smokers. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, issued an advisory last week after reporting 215 cases in 25 states of severe respiratory disease possibly linked to vaping since late June.
LCSO released an informational video today to discuss vaping among Loudoun youth and to educate the public on potential health concerns with these devices.
“Unfortunately they have become popular among teenagers nationally at epidemic levels, and because they emit very low amounts of vapor or aerosol, they are often used during school hours, in school bathrooms and even classrooms,” Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman (R) said in the video. “In just the past year, high school-aged students using electronic cigarettes increased 78 percent. In Loudoun County, vapes have been found on students in both middle and high school.”
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the same addictive drug found in cigarettes — some may contain as much as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reviewed more than 800 studies to determine that e-cigarettes contain and emit a number of potentially toxic substances, the inhalation of which may cause irreversible lung damage and disease.
“Even more disconcerting is what else can be inhaled from these devices,” Chapman added. “Recently, members of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office uncovered vapes containing THS, a butane hash oil. The concentration in the vape cartridges was 95 percent THC. This is well over 10 times more potent than a typical marijuana plant.”
Efforts are being made at the federal and state level to limit children’s access to vapor products, as well as to reduce the promotion of these products to juveniles. A new Virginia law took effect in July prohibiting the purchase or possession of tobacco, nicotine vapor and alternative nicotine products by anyone under the age of 21 or the sale of these products to persons under 21.
Sheriff's deputies have begun discussing vaping devices with students at both the elementary and middle school level via the D.A.R.E. program. They are also working with Loudoun County Public Schools to hold a series of educational forums on vaping. A Vaping, JUULing and Internet Safety seminar will be held Nov. 7 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Sterling Library, which is located at 22330 South Sterling Blvd.
More information can be found at sheriff.loudoun.gov/vapes.