Mansfield Public Schools
Volume 2, Issue 2
February 2018

The Health And Wellness Advisroy Council (HWAC) is comprised of school admistrators, nurses, guidance counselors, teachers, parents, community leaders and student delegates.  Our mission is to provide and develop educational Health & Wellness resources, and to promote and support the physical and social/emotional health of our
school community.  The council serves as a common ground for all grade levels to share ideas and look for support in areas of need.  

Vaping:WhatParentsNeedtoKnowVaping: What Parents Need to Know:  

There has been an increase in the number of teens possessing e-cigarettes and vaporizers nationwide. These devices are commonly referred to as "vapes".  School districts, including our own, have been on the front lines facing this issue. We take this topic very seriously due to the negative health effects vaping can have on our students. We know vaping and the terms associated with it can be confusing to parents. We would like to share some information about vaping and hope it will increase your comfort in engaging in a discussion with your child. 

What is a Vaping?
Vaping is inhaling the vapor produced from a heated liquid through an an electronic cigarette or similar device.  There are three major components of vaping:  the device, the battery and the e-juice.  


E-cigarettes are very similar in size, shape and weight to most traditional cigarettes and contain three parts: the battery, the atomizer which is the heating element that vaporizers the liquid, and a cartridge which is the piece that contains the liquid to be vaped. An LED light on the end of the battery glows when the user inhales, resembling the burning tip of a cigarette. The cartridge is usually pre-filled and is disposable once empty.   

Vaporizers, which come in a variety of forms, are considered the next step after the more traditional e-cigarettes and are extremely popular among adolescents. "Vapes" have a longer battery life and can offer custom ization of e-liquid. T he vaporizer is composed of a large battery on one end, a reservoir tank in the middle, and a mouthpiece. By pressing a small button on the side of the battery, the user engages the heating element which vaporizes the e-juice and releases vapor.  

A Juul is a specific vaporizer which is claiming a rise in popularity among teens.  The Juul device is discrete and can vanish quickly into a closed fist.  The Juul comes in a simple cardboard box which contains the Juul vape device with built-in battery, a magnetic USB charger which can be charged through a laptop, and juice "pods". The pods, colorful pieces that look similar to a flash drive, contain the liquid that has varying flavors and strengths of nicotine. "Juuling"  is the term used for vaping with this popular device. The use of this term allows teens to distance themselves from the ominous act of "vaping" or "smoking". 

As you can see from the images in this newsletter, vapes come in a wide range of designs, all of which fit easily into a pocket or bag. Some versions are designed to avoid notice by looking like  common items such as inhalers, computer pen drives, and even small gaming systems. A  quick Google image sear c h will provide additional pictures if you would like  to investigate further.

The liquid being vaporized and inhaled is usually referred to as the "juice". It is sold as e-juice or e-liquid. It can be part of the e-cigarette, sold as Juul pods, or come in small containers (commonly the size and shape of a clear eye drop container). The liquid is sold in an array of flavors which result in the unique scent produced by vaporizers that is unlike nicotine. Often, a faint scent of fruit or fragrance will be released with vaping and is the only indication that someone near you is vaping.

This flavored liquid will list ingredients such as propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, water and flavoring but will most likely contain nicotine and other  harmful elements such as aldehydes. At this time, the ingredient lists are not monitored. The juice can also easily be infused with other components, such as THC, the key c hemical in marijuana. 


In Massachusetts, the statewide age for purchasing cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products is 18, but more than 165 communities, including Mansfield, have raised the age to 21. Unfortunately, many teens travel to neighboring towns to purchase products. Please consider supporting pending legislation that will raise the age to 21 throughout the state. Sale of these products through vending or other self-service machines are prohibited but restrictions against internet sellers are weakly enforced. Tobacco products are easily available online to underage individuals who have a credit card. The cost of vaping devices range from $10 to $15 dollars and a 15-ml bottle of e-juice will cost $4 to $10. The amount of vape liquid used in a week depends on strength of nicotine and depth of inhalation. 


Myth #1: E-cigarettes do not have nicotine.
  • FACT: Almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, including many that claim they are nicotine-free. A 2014 study showed wide-ranging nicotine levels in e-cigarettes and inconsistencies between listed and actual nicotine levels in these products.  We know nicotine is an addictive substance that can have negative health impacts, especially on the developing adolescent brain which is highly sensitive to the effects of nicotine. Nicotine has been shown to change the way synapses are formed, altering parts of the brain that control attention and learning at this critical time juncture. Nicotine exposure in adolescence has been linked to reduced attention span and enhanced impulsivity. Additionally, nicotine is also known to have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system leading to increased blood pressure and narrowing of the arteries.
Myth #2: Vaping is safe.
  • Fact: Vapes are unregulated tobacco products. We do not know presently what is actually in vaping liquids. Because the FDA does not regulate these products, there are no requirements around ingredient disclosure, warning labels, or youth access restrictions. A review of studies found that toxins in vapes include antifreeze, formaldehyde, and diacetyl.  Diacetyl, a chemical compound used for butter flavor as well as caramel, pina colada and strawberry, has been linked to illness among factory workers due to inhalation. Not only are these chemicals being inhaled into young lungs causing irritation and other issues yet to be determined, they could also damage the inside of the mouth and create sores.  
Myth #3: Flavored e-juice is safe.
  • Fact: Flavors in e-juice are a cause for concern. Not only are flavors used to target teens, but they may be harmful on their own. E-cigarette and flavor manufacturers suggest that the flavor ingredients used in e-juice are safe because the ingredients have achieved  "GRAS" (Generally Recognized As Safe) status from the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA), but such statements are false and misleading. The reality is GRAS status applies only to ingestible food, meaning it is safe to eat and does not apply to inhaling into your lungs. New studies have shown that vaping these liquids can trigger immune responses in the lung that can contribute to inflammatory lung diseases such as COPD and bronchiolitis obliterans - more commonly referred to as "popcorn lung" which is a scarring of the tiny air sacs in the lungs resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways. 
Myth #4: Vaping is not addictive.
  • As stated above, studies have shown that even items on the market labeled without nicotine contain small amounts of nicotine and some come labeled in a variety of nicotine strengths, including Double Extra Strength. Even with that label, containers of e-liquid are incompatible with an adolescents' perception of nicotine amount. Some Juul pods which may last a user less than a week have roughly the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. Recent studies have shown that vaping use among adolescents increases the likelihood of transitioning to conventional cigarettes. In addition, new studies are emerging that examine the link of vaping to future substance misuse. 
Myth #5: Vaping is relaxing.
  • Fact:  Teens will frequently state they vape to help them "relax". We know the effects of vaping e-juice include increase in heart rate, increase in blood pressure, stomach-aches, nausea, dizziness and mood swings. The reality is once a person starts to vape, the addictive nature of the liquid leads them to compulsively vape in order to stimulate pleasure areas in their brain and the act also becomes a routine part of their day. 

 Myth #6: Vaping is not marketing to teens.
  • Fact: Vaping among middle and high schools students more than tripled from 2013 to 2015 and continues to rise. There has been aggressive industry tactics such as cartoon characters and candy flavored juice including bubble gum, fruit loops, and chocolate with intriguing names such as Blue Honey, Furry Wall, and Thug Juice. Teens are using e-cigarettes and vaporizers more than traditional cigarettes and at such high rates that many vape companies have been snapped up by big tobacco companies like Imperial and R.J. Reynolds due to their profit potential. In turn, many small vaping tech companies now have the backing of global tobacco companies which includes corporate marketing resources and lawyers.
Myth #7: Vaping can help smokers quit.
  • Fact: The FDA has not found any vaping device to be safe and effective in helping smokers quit. Instead of quitting, many users are continuing to vape while still using conventional cigarettes. In addition, there is little doubt that there is nicotine in the liquid which perpetuates the addiction. 
Source: American Lung Association
SchoolPolicySchool Policy:
Many students across the country are taking part in this behavior that is completely unhealthy. We strongly encourage you to talk with your children about the dangers of vaping and the problems that can occur from it. Honest and straightforward discussions about issues such as these can have a very significant impact on their choices. 

It may be helpful for you to be aware of the consequences for being in possession of tobacco on schools grounds and remind your student of such. This information is outlined on page 41 of the 2017-2018 QMS Student Handbook and page 36 of the 2017-2018 MHS Student Handbook.  Possessing and consuming tobacco/nicotine products at school may result in an out of school suspension.  

We want to stress that the Mansfield Public Schools are safe places where the vast, vast majority of our students make great choices each and every day. Our interest in reaching out is to help steer students away from the draw of vapes' easy access, use, and misuse. We appreciate your partnership to keep our students making healthy, safe and smart choices.
LinksandResourcesLinks and Resources:  

Talk with Your Teen about E-Cigarettes: A Parent Tip Sheet

" Take care of your body.  It is the only place you have to live."

~Jim Rohn

Please visit our new webage under the Parents link on the Mansfield Public Schools Home Page: Health and Wellness Advisory Council.  Page is also available under shortcuts on the home page.  There are links to our home newsletter, school policy, and resources.  

Health & Wellness Advisory Council:

Chair Teresa Murphy Superintendent
Technical Advisor

Joshua Rapoza Digital Learning Specialist
Wellness Coordinator
Christine Dooling
Director of Health Services

Christine Dooling, Director of Health Services