On Friday, March 23, Manhasset middle school students participated in the Molloy College Health Fair as part of MS Health and Wellness Week.
During physical education classes, 7th and 8th graders visited interactive healthy living booths
and learned about hydration, physical fitness, nutrition, CPR, social media safety, skin / sun protection, and stress management. Fair booth participants included
students from Molloy College's Nursing Program, Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island, CrossFit Nine 7, MaryAnn Jones from Thrive Naturally and Dani Scialo, a local yoga instructor who has been offering school-wide classes as part of CASA Youth Club's healthy living initiatives.
CASA's booth featured important information on the dangers of tobacco, e-cigarettes and vaping. This came at an opportune time, since 7th graders had just participated in a Kick Butts Day poster contest (an opportunity to help spread awareness of the dangers involved) and the 8th graders just completed a 3-unit curriculum on vaping in health class, prepared by Jasmine Ostrom.
CASA talked to a lot of students during the fair and learned some troubling things:
7th graders believe 15-20% of students in their grade are using e-cigarettes in some form; 8th graders say it's closer to 35 - 40% in their grade.
Students also shared that their peers do not truly understand the dangers involved, especially as advertisers promote e-cigarettes as safer than smoking, and most students choose to vape because they think "it's cool" (also a result of targeted marketing to kids.)
Vaping happens everywhere: in the bathrooms, during lunch, even in the middle of class. Since vaping is odorless and the apparatus look like school supplies (thumb drives and pens), it's hard to detect and is often happening in our faces unseen.
CASA will continue to offer information about the dangers of vaping to reduce the number of students using this dangerous substance. Officer Joseph Monez, from Nassau County Police headquarters in Mineola, offered an after-school presentation earlier this year to students and nurses. He shared that Manhasset was ahead of most school districts in asking for a vaping presentation. We are all realizing the challenges involved and have more to do. Please learn all you can and talk to your children about the known and unknown dangers of vaping.
As a way to start, here are some recent articles to read and share with your kids. Have a conversation today and let CASA know how we can help!: