On October 29, the Point Pleasant Borough School District and Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive health network, held the district’s second vaping forum and panel, “The Dangers of Vaping,” in the Loren D. Donley Center for the Performing Arts at Point Pleasant Borough High School. The discussion was led by medical experts, school district leaders and educators, and moderated by Regina Foley, former Point Pleasant School board member, community advocate and chief hospital executive of Hackensack Meridian Health.
The two entities came together with the common goal to combat this popular trend among middle school and high school students, and as a result, the school district received the first $7,000 grant from Hackensack Meridian Health to implement educational and outreach measures as part of a $1 million statewide campaign, Take Vape Away.
“On behalf of the Point Pleasant Borough School District, I am deeply gratified and thank Hackensack Meridian Health for supporting the health and wellbeing of the children of our community,” Superintendent Mr. Vincent Smith said. “We know that parents, educators, healthcare professionals and students must all be in to combat this epidemic.”
A total of 34 deaths due to vaping-related illnesses or injuries have been reported, including one in New Jersey, according to recent data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Expert panelists weren’t the only ones to share knowledge on the vaping crisis— students from Point Pleasant Borough High School’s Youth Dart Coalition presented a slideshow that educated the attendees on the different types of vaping devices, the chemicals found in such devices as well as vaping associated terms that are popular among teenagers. Terms included “nic stick,” which refers to a disposable vape, and “zeroing,” a trick that entails inhaling the vape for 60 seconds to allow the vape cloud to disappear.
“The number of adolescents has grown exponentially and today more than one in 4 high school students report using e-cigarettes, which is a dramatic increase in just one year,” Foley said. “As a local community member and health care executive, I am alarmed at the vaping epidemic especially when it comes to young people and I am pleased that Hackensack Meridian Health is taking a stand on this epidemic.”