An 18-year-old from DOMUS House in Stamford gave a talk last Monday to warn area health and social services professionals and others about the dangers of vaping, a trend of “smoking” vapor through electronic cigarettes.
Monday’s Communities 4 Action annual meeting at UConn Stamford was attended by a wide cross section of health professionals, social services professionals, police and elected officials.
Rayon Meikle from DOMUS House in Stamford adamantly warned against vaping in his talk Monday before the group.
Rayon showed the crowd examples of vaping devices, which he said are priced from $30 to $600. He said the battery alone costs $30.
“If your kid asks you for $200, he’s buying one,” he warned. “Say no.”
SIDEBAR: PRESENTATION ON VAPING & E-CIGARETTES TUESDAY AT THE DEPOT
What is vaping? And is it safe? Come out and learn the facts with Dennis Bludnicki, Substance Abuse Specialist from Liberation Programs, and James Palmieri, SRO at Darien High School.
Both will discuss e-cigarettes from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 28 at The Depot.
E-cigarettes have arrived in the life of the American teenager. Use of the devices among middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014, according to federal data, bringing the share of high school students who use them to 13 percent — more than those who smoke traditional cigarettes.
“Kids nowadays are using vape — I was one of those kids too,” he said. “You just put a dab on and smoke it,” he said.
Greenwich Police Officer Carlos Franco explained that a “dab” is a honey based marijuana that is made into a wax with a high THC level.
“They use the name ‘Pancake Man’ on the juice to trick kids into it,” Rayon continued, adding that the juice is not regulated that any 13-year old kid can walk into a corner store and purchase it.
“VG [vegetable glycerin] has a lot of chemicals, they don’t say what it really is. It can make your tongue turn black,” Rayon warned.
“Three months ago a friend of mine went in a store and bought juice that said it was VG but it wasn’t.” Vegetable glycerin is an odorless liquid that is combined with flavor and nicotine to create “e-juice.”
His friend had to go to the hospital after his tongue turned black from vaping Rayon said.
A “pinky press,” he said, is a vaping device that ignites with a push of the pinky finger. One of the examples he shared, a device that had been confiscated by police, still had skin burnt onto it.
“These vapes are not something you want to use,” Rayon continued. “They can explode on you. My friend — his hand exploded. He didn’t know his finger was on the button.”
— This article originally was published in a slightly different version Wednesday by Greenwich Free Press.
“I recommend that VG should be illegal because it hurts a lot of people. They say it doesn’t effect people with asthma, but I see it affect a lot of people,” he said. “I’ve seen so many things I’ve never saw before. I’m seeing middle school children coming out of school and vaping. They’re taking it to a whole new level. It’s going to be hard to stop.”
Rayon said teens are using YouTube as a how-to resource to make the juices at home in their basements.
“I’d say there’s a lot more people using vape than marijuana,” he added. He attributed the lure of vaping to teenagers to the desire to look cool. “It’s all because of rap music and the videos they see of vaping. If I go out on the street vaping, they see it looks cool so they want to do it.”
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