Vaping among young people is a growing concern for many, including school district officials that want the Province to take action. File photo

Comox Valley school board wants Province to take action on vaping

Concerns include health effects on young people, methods used to market

School District 71 wants something done to tackle vaping among young people.

Superintendent Tom Demeo brought up the matter at the Oct. 22 board of education meeting during his report to the trustees, saying the issue had come up during recent meetings with other superintendents and assistant deputy minister Jennifer McCrae.

As Demeo put it, every school district is dealing with this. He also referred to a presentation from Island Health’s medical health officer about the habit among young people.

“Other places are now realizing the impact,” Demeo said.

At the end of the meeting, the board also considered a letter from Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone asking school trustees to put pressure on the Province to address the surging rates of vaping among youth. In the letter, Stone cited a British medical journal article that estimates vaping in Canada among people aged 16 to 19 had increased 74 per cent since last year and that 30 per cent of B.C. teens in grades 10 to 12 vape on a regular basis. In response, trustee Sheila McDonnell made a motion, which the board passed, to send a letter to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education to take action to fight vaping among young people.

RELATED STORY: Concern over student vaping grows in Vancouver Island schools

During his presentation to the board, Demeo said a challenge will be how to educate communities and parents that vaping is not acceptable.

“This is not a viable option or alternative,” he said. “To combat this is not just going to be a one-prong approach…. We all need to be together on this one.”

The good news, Demeo says, is a sense the Province wants to work together with communities and school districts.

“We were encouraged,” he said. “This is a conversation that will be continuing…. This is something we need to deal with.”

The bad news is the growth of vaping, itself, especially among young people. E-cigarettes and vaping were touted as an alternative to smoking with fewer health effects. While Health Canada says the nicotine is not a known carcinogen, it is highly addictive, especially when flavoured, and can affect brain development among teenagers. The federal government also admits everyone is still learning about the effects of vaping, especially what they will be over the long-term.

There are also concerns about marketing vaping products to kids. Board Janice Caton and assistant superintendent Geoff Manning discussed a video of an experiment involving secondary school students, teachers, principals and parents to try to identify 15 vaping products in classroom. Most could only pick out three. These products can be disguised in items like erasers and hoodies.

“You can’t tell me this stuff is not being marketed to kids,” Demeo responded.

During discussion, the board touched on topics of bans or restrictions on advertising, legislation and education.

“I think this is something that has come to light, and everybody is trying to figure out how to deal with this,” Demeo said.

Every school district has looked at it, he added, and local high schools have sessions planned with their communities about the issue of vaping.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Union Bay water plant now finished

Work allows health authority to lift boil water advisory

Comox’s Kassidy Stewart takes Miss Teen BC title

She is set now to compete in upcoming nationals this summer

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up Baynes Sound and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Residents want City of Courtenay to move proposed trail route

City says route closer to the shoreline poses number of problems

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read