School Safety Topics at Lind-Ritzville High School

  • Juul

    by Greg Whitmore

    Teenage years can be very difficult.  Lots of challenges in the years when our kids are too old to be a child but too young to be an adult.  Over the course of my 28 years of teaching Health Education and raising 3 of my own "little challenges," I have seen different health issues change positions and move to the forefront.  These include issues such as:
    • teen pregnancy
    • teen suicide
    • alcohol abuse/binge drinking
    • tobacco use,
    • drug abuse
    • stress
    • bullying
    • texting and driving
    • and many, many more

    If you were to ask my opinion as to the leading concerns I have facing our kiddos right now, I would have to say:
    • e-cigarettes/vaping
    • high sugar consumption leading to obesity and diseases such as fatty liver, pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes
    • cell phones/social media and its effects on our teens brains

    That's not to say we stop educating our kids in the issues listed above.  We have to keep at it on those dangers as well, but we better make sure we take note of these very hot issues of today and work together to curb it.  I will try to pass along research-based information that will arm parents with knowledge and hopefully help start the badly needed conversations between parent & teen. The most important thing you can do to help your son/daughter navigate the waters of adolescence and avoid getting caught in those dangerous health behaviors is talk to them and do it all the time.
    I will start with E-Cigs/Vaping. As I said, I have been teaching health for 28 years so I can tell you a ton about cigarettes, drug/alcohol, teen suicide, stress and nutrition.  However, e-cigarettes and vaping is new to me.  I am only coming to know about this very dangerous trend.  E-cigs and vaping has hit Lind-Ritzville HS and MS like a locomotive this year.  We are seeing it in our bathrooms, parking lots, on school buses, cars, etc.  I had a Juul turned into me that was lying on the window sill outside Gilson gym.  We have even seen instances of e-cig use in our grade school.  I thought it migh be helpful to pass on some information to parents as I figure that if the HS health teacher doesn't know much about them, there probably are many parents without the information as well.  Below are a few places for you to lean more about e-cigarettes/vaping.
    JUUL is the largest e-cigarette manufacturer.  Did you know they paid each of their 1,500 employees an average of a $1.3 million bonus this past year?  Read about it here.
    Don't get me wrong, e-cigarettes no doubt have their place in helping longtime smokers break their addiction just as nicotine gum and patches do.  However, they have no place in our kids hands.  Don't be fooled by Big Tobacco's rhetoric.  They will say they are not targeting our kids, but it is very profitable if they can get our young people (with brains that are already much more susceptible to addiction than adults), to try their product and become a lifetime consumer.
    If you would like more information on the crisis we are facing, please feel free to email me.  Oh yeah and talk to your son/daughter about the subject.  In some case, they may know more than us adults.
    Greg Whitmore
    Health Education
    Lind-Ritzville High School