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Dear kids: Vaping isn’t worth it

In Saturday’s edition, reporter Julie Goldberg told us that vaping in high schools in Northeast Michigan and beyond has reached, as Alpena High School Principal Tom Berriman put it, “epidemic” proportions.

Vaping has become so popular that one set of bathrooms at Hillman Jr./Sr. High School had become known as “vapenation” among the students, forcing school administrators to lock the bathrooms.

Students told Goldberg many kids think vaping is safe for them. And who could blame them? All of the advertising around vaping products, including in TV commercials, has promoted vaping as a safe alternative to cigarettes.

Now, America is finding out that might not be true.

As of Oct. 1, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 1,080 serious lung illnesses associated with vaping, spread across 48 states and one U.S. territory. Eighteen people had died in 15 states by that date, and another death was reported in Michigan on Friday.

The CDC says 16% of those 1,080 patients are younger than 18.

The CDC is investigating a possible link between the illnesses and vaping products that contain THC, the chemical compound in marijuana that causes users to get high.

Michigan responded to the emergency with a new set of rules prohibiting the sale of flavored vaping products, which officials argued were enticing teens to use the products. Now, officials are urging everyone — especially young people — to stop vaping at least until health officials can get a handle on what’s causing users to become so gravely ill.

We concur.

It just plain isn’t worth the risk, young people. Too many people care about you. Your future is too bright.

Most electronic cigarettes contain nicotine, the same addictive chemical found in tobacco. We urge all young people currently vaping to visit cdc.gov/quit for tips and advice on how to give it up, and we encourage anyone who hasn’t yet started to never start.

(THE ALPENA NEWS)