Stopping Superior students from developing an addiction to vaping

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The first week of school has begun for many students throughout the Northland. While students are tackling homework assignment, parents and teachers are on the lookout for stopping Superior students using e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.

Jane Larson, a social worker at Superior High School says high school students are getting e-cigarettes and vaping devices from older siblings, friends, or stores not asking for their I.D. “People get addicted very quickly. And I don’t think that students understand how quickly that can happen,” Larson said.

More than half of Wisconsin teens who have tried tobacco products first tried e-cigarettes, according to to a Youth Tobacco Survey from 2022. “They might be bored. They might try it with friends,” Larson said.

There are plenty of resources for adults facing the hardships of addictions. However, Larson says there needs to be more resources available to help kids facing these same addictions.

“It doesn’t take long for somebody to begin to develop a dependency. When we start introducing chemicals that definitely has an effect on what’s happening in terms of our brain development. Kids don’t understand the impact that that has in terms of mental health.”

Unfortunately, Larson said kids don’t realize they have a problem using e-cigarettes and vaping until they develop an addiction.

“We had a student here a couple of years ago who got addicted and quit,” Larson said. “He realized the impact it was having with his health. ‘Like, I can’t run like I used to run, I’m wheezing. I’m having a harder time breathing.’ I think it takes time for them to realize that. And I think by the time they sometimes by the time they realize it, they’re there’s a dependency there and it’s much harder.”

However, Larson said the Superior high school doesn’t look to punish students for vaping. Actually, they have a program with the American Lung Association to help students stop vaping from becoming an addiction.

“We can not suspend our way out of this. It’s not going to work. We could suspend kids forever, but it’s not going to help them do anything different,” Larson said. “We need kids who want the help to be supported here at school by their families, we need to make sure they have access to treatment and services outside in the community as well.”

For more information about the American Lung Association program stopping Superior students from vaping you can read more here. Also for other stories with Superior high school you can read more here.