Before the holiday break, state officials distributed new resources to help Iowa schools respond to the “vaping” epidemic. The latest data shows 29 percent of Iowa 11th graders admit they use an electronic cigarette daily and experts say adults often do not know what the devices look like.
Melissa Walker of the Iowa Department of Education, who works with school nurses throughout the state, says “Iowa school nurses and teachers are in a unique position because of their ability to reach students, families and their school community.”
Walker’s agency and the Iowa Department of Public Health have developed a webinar for teachers and school nurses. It outlines the illnesses students who vape tend to have and the various devices that are used to vape. Some look like watches, with a time and date display. Others are fashioned to resemble flash drives or high lighters.
“The more we equip our educators, students and families with evidence-based information, the better the chances that students will make responsible, healthy choices,” Walker says. “School nurses and teachers are in a great position to do this work because of the relationships they build with their students.”
Posters are also being distributed to Iowa schools — to show students that one vaping pod can have as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes.