The Caroline County Health Department’s Vital Records office will not be issuing Birth and Death Certificates on Friday, July 5, and Monday, July 8. Normal hours will resume Tuesday, July 9, at 8:30 AM. Thank you!

Raising the Next Generation Tobacco-Free

No more smoke-filled rooms or cars, no more yellow nicotine stains, freedom from nicotine addiction and longer, healthier lives. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the next generation completely tobacco-free?

Tobacco companies have targeted youth and minorities for far too long. Countless lives have been lost from tobacco products. Thankfully many young people have been educated on the dangers of tobacco. Social norms are changing and most young people are not interested in smoking cigarettes. However, young people, even those that would have never touched a traditional cigarette, are interested in electronic cigarettes and vaping products.

Companies that make vaping products are connected to the tobacco industry. The company R.J. Reynolds, which makes the cigarette brands Newport and Camel, is the same company that owns Vuse, a popular vape brand. We know how deceitful Big Tobacco companies have been in the past and we know their motives always involve making money.

Just like cigarettes, nearly all vapes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. This is especially concerning when it comes to young people because the human brain continues to grow and develop until about the mid-twenties. During that time of development people are even more susceptible to addiction.

Nicotine is a stimulant and can increase our heart rate and blood pressure, causing our heart to work harder. It can cause damage to our lungs. Also contrary to the name, when someone vapes they are actually inhaling an aerosol, not a water vapor. Some of the common chemicals within the aerosol inhaled are nicotine, benzoic acid, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavoring and coloring. Devices have a mouthpiece, battery, atomizer, and heating element. These pieces are composed of plastics and metals that can break down over time, especially as they are heated.

Our lungs are made for clean, fresh air, not inhaling aerosols, chemicals, or heavy metals. So now that we understand a little bit more about Big Tobacco’s history and the importance of raising the next generation tobacco free, including vapes, what steps can we take?

  1. Know that you can influence kids’ decisions about whether or not they use tobacco products. Be clear that you do not approve of your children/grandchildren smoking, vaping or using tobacco in any form. Even if you use these products yourself, be clear they are not to be used by anyone under the age of 21.
  2. Educate yourself on trending products. The market is always growing.
  3. Have conversations with your kids/grandkids about the dangers of all tobacco products.
    • Don’t make it a lecture
    • Ask them what they know or have heard or seen
    • Ask for their opinion about what they think about these products or how they feel about the way they are being targeted by the companies
    • Keep the conversation going and the door open so they feel comfortable coming to you with questions or concerns
  4. Keep kids engaged. Kids and teens are naturally curious, help them find safe ways to satisfy their curiosities.
  5. Kids and teens have enormous levels of stress and anxiety today. As adults, let us not overlook or undermine their stressors. This is a big reason many will cite for using tobacco or drugs. Model and help them learn healthy ways to manage their stress.
  6. Learn about cessation resources. Texting VAPEFREE to 873-373 or calling the Maryland Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, are both great resources.