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In The News
Can vaping damage your lungs? What we do (and don’t) know
By Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Harvard Health Publishing
The rising popularity of vaping has been dramatic, especially among teenagers. According to a recent study, about 37% of high school seniors reported vaping in 2018, up from 28% the year before. An estimated 2.1 million middle school and high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2017; that number jumped to 3.6 million in 2018. Certainly, age restrictions — it’s illegal to sell e-cigarettes to anyone under 21 (18 or 19 in some states) — aren’t preventing use among teens and young adults. And nearly seven million adults 18 or older use e-cigarettes, according to a 2017 survey by the CDC.

E-cigarettes use a battery-powered device that heats a liquid to form vapors — or, more accurately, aerosol — that the user can inhale (thus “vaping”). These devices heat up various flavorings, nicotine, marijuana, or other potentially harmful substances. Nicotine is addictive, of course. And while that fact is prominently displayed in advertising, we know from experience with regular cigarettes that warnings don’t always work!

You may have seen news reports of lung problems, including two deaths — one in Illinois and another in Oregon— linked to vaping. According to the CDC:

  • Nearly 200 e-cigarette users have developed severe lung disease in 22 states (and the numbers keep rising — a Washington Post story put the number at 354). Most cases were among teens and young adults.

  • Experts aren’t sure if vaping actually caused these lung problems, but believe the most likely culprit is a contaminant, not an infectious agent. Possibilities include chemical irritation, or allergic or immune reactions to various chemicals or other substances in the inhaled vapors.

  • Typically, symptoms have started gradually, with shortness of breath and/or chest pain before more severe breathing difficulty led to hospital admission.

  • The lung disease has not been linked to a specific brand or flavor of e-cigarette.

  • The FDA, CDC, and state health officials are investigating these cases to 

The recent tragic and alarming cases of severe lung disease are clearly cause for concern. A number of other health effects are also worrisome:

  • Nicotine is highly addictive and can affect the developing brain, potentially harming teens and young adults. Even some “nicotine-free” e-cigarettes have been found to contain nicotine.

  • Some substances found in e-cigarette vapor have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

  • Teens who vape are more likely to begin smoking cigarettes.

  • Explosions and burns have been reported with e-cigarettes while recharging the devices, due to defective batteries.

  • Accidental exposure to liquid from e-cigarettes has caused acute nicotine poisoning in children and adults.

  • Vaping during pregnancy could harm a developing fetus.

Until we know more, think twice about vaping. Federal and state authorities recommend avoiding all vaping until more is known. If you do decide to vape, avoid e-cigarettes bought “off the street” and stick with brand name e-cigarette products without modification (such as adding marijuana or other drugs).
These cases of severe lung disease among people who vape raise important questions about the safety of vaping. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that lung problems might develop in people who vape: our lungs were meant to inhale clean air and nothing else. It took many years to recognize the damage cigarettes can cause. We could be on a similar path with vaping."

The Beware of Drunk Drivers on Memorial Day Weekend
By Partnership to End Addiction
Drunk drivers are a threat on the road during Memorial Day weekend, warns Fox Business. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 397 people died over the three-day weekend in 2010, the latest year for which data is available. Of those crashes, 40 percent were alcohol-related.

In 2010, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes—one every 51 minutes, notes the NHTSA. The agency has found fatal crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver are more likely on weekends and at night, the article notes.
Alcohol interferes with a person’s coordination, driving skills and judgment. Drinking can cause people to lose control and become aggressive, which can in turn affect driving skills.

Drinking can affect the brain for hours, and may even influence a person’s driving the next morning, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Caffeine won’t help to reduce the effects of alcohol on the body."

The More You Know
The Nebraska collects over 4,000 pounds of medication for National Take Back Day
By Taleisha Newbill, WOWT
"On the 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, the Drug Enforcement Administration partnered with the five state Omaha Division on removing unused, expired, and unwanted medications from homes.

Officials say 24 Nebraska law enforcement partners had 30 sites throughout the state on April 24th. The Division had a combined total of 37,878 pounds and this includes the 4,342 pounds that were collected in Nebraska."

Last month we highlighted the Salvation Army and the work they do within our community. This month we want to highlight the program that we are teaching during their after-school program. 
We are using our Too Good for Drugs & Violence Program, a comprehensive evidence-based substance abuse prevention curriculum for students K-12 applying interactive, social games and activities to promote healthy decision-making. Too Good for Drugs and Violence programs empower children with social-emotional learning and substance abuse prevention skills they need to lead happy and healthy lives. 

If you are interested in what the Salvation Army is doing contact Paul Dyke:

If you are interested in the programs we offer, please visit our website.

Our Programs
The A lesson from our Too Good for Drugs & Violence program
The A lesson from our Wellness Initiative for Seniors program
For more information on our programming & what we do, check out our website.
Online Programming
If you are looking for educational and engaging activities for your kids during this time of social distancing Coalition Rx has you covered! We are working hard to transition our evidence-based programming into online lessons. We are currently posting one video per program a week on our Facebook page and website.

We're also working on Zoom lessons if parents, teachers or students are interested in joining please email and we will get some class times set up!
Too Good For Drugs and Violence - Strategies for Peer Pressure
Help Reduce the Misuse of Substances of Abuse
We provide three evidence-based programs for youth and families. Strengthening Families Program 10-14, Too Good For Drugs and Violence K-8 and WISE. If you are interested in these programs please check out our Facebook page for the virtual lessons we have started in the wake of social distancing guidelines.

For more information on upcoming events visit our website.

Founded in 2015, our mission is to reduce the misuse of all substances of abuse by raising awareness and partnering with community organizations to provide public and professional education, prevention and treatment resources, and policy advocacy.
Carey Pomykata Executive Director
(402) 871-5622