Experts to discuss vaping risks, marijuana legalization with parents, students

By: Sherri Kolade | C&G Newspapers | Published October 5, 2018

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FARMINGTON HILLS/WEST BLOOMFIELD — Parents and community members are invited to learn about the dangers of vaping, or e-cigarettes, a growing trend among young people.

Representatives from the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, the Henry Ford Maplegrove Center and the West Bloomfield Police Department will be on hand at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, 6777 W. Maple Road, to discuss vaping.

The event, “Think Vaping Is Safe? … Think Again,” will feature confiscated drug paraphernalia found at local schools, said Lisa G. Berkey, executive director of the Greater West Bloomfield Community Coalition, which sponsors the event.

The coalition will also hold a conversation about the legalization of marijuana at 7 p.m. Oct. 22 at Adat Shalom Synagogue, 29901 Middlebelt Road in Farmington Hills. The panel discussion will explore the general election ballot proposal for the legalization of marijuana, the pros and cons, and more. 

For more information on the marijuana discussion, email lsieg mann@jccdet.org or call (248) 432-5636. Register at jccdet.org/legalization.

Berkey said that the vaping discussion event is for students as well as parents.

“I think it is very valuable — they need to learn the dangers of this,” Berkey said. “I think it is everywhere, and everyone should know, but there are plenty of people who don’t know the dangers.

“What happens when you warm up propylene glycol?” Berkey said of one vaping ingredient among many. “Where are these chemicals used in other things? They’re used in things that are scary.”

Lisa Kaplan, a board member of the Greater West Bloomfield Community Coalition, said statistics show that vaping is on the rise.

That is true across the country, she said.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, teens are now more likely to use e-cigarettes than cigarettes. Teenage e-cigarette users are more likely to start smoking cigarettes in comparison to ones who don’t use e-cigarettes.

“There is nicotine in it, and people can become addicted,” Kaplan said, adding that addiction in a teenage brain can lead to brain development problems. 

“A person’s brain is not developed until the mid-20s. Introducing chemicals into their brain prior to that impacts brain development and affects their IQ and emotional stability. … It can create psychiatric problems.”

Berkey said that the vaping industry’s marketing approach targets a younger crowd, with “kid-friendly” flavors such as tutty fruity and cotton candy.

“Kids are attracted to it,” she said, adding that stores should be carding people under the age of 18 — the legal age limit for vaping.

She said that regarding the discussion on the vote for the legalization of marijuana, she wants people to walk away educated on its pros and cons before they vote.

Kaplan agrees.

“I don’t want to say, ‘vote no,’ but what I do want to say is, before voting, understand the way the law is written may not be what you really want. I’m encouraging people to do their research,” Kaplan said. 

For more information, go to gwbcoalition.org.