Parents: Know the Risks for Students and Vaping

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Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)

Mallory McKnight, substance abuse specialist for the PWCS Office of Student Services, has added a new and unwelcome component to her role in the School Division. That role is vaping and e-cigarette use expert.

“As the issue surrounding adolescent vaping continues to rise, our program is exercising the utmost vigilance to educate our students, parents, and educators on the dangers of this growing trend,” said McKnight. “Although the health consequences of vaping are still unknown, many students believe it’s safe. Research is showing that this is untrue, at least for adolescents.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults” webpage provides helpful information on the risks of using e-cigarettes and prevention support. provides facts about vaping, including that one Juul pod contains about 20 cigarettes’ worth of nicotine.

Other reliable sites that provide facts on e-cigarettes and vaping, and tips for encouraging teens to quit include and

In August this year, Virginia added at least three cases of lung illnesses linked to the use of electronic cigarettes to the nearly 200 cases from 22 states that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported. Teen e-cigarette use has increased significantly within the past few years, becoming the most popular form of tobacco product used. Over one million more students used e-cigarettes in 2018 than in 2017. And, there is a growing number of young people that report using e-cigarettes to vape other substances, including THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

“Vaping products are easy to hide, often resembling a flash drive or pen. They can even be styled discreetly in apparel, for example, hidden in the drawstrings of a sweatshirt,” said McKnight. “So, it’s important for parents to be knowledgeable about the discreet nature of these products and the dangers they can pose for teens. But conversation, rather than confrontation, is vital to keeping the door open for impactful discussions with your child, who may then be willing to sharing their experiences and concerns.”


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