At our parent open house, we introduced the Deeper Colors blog, and our desire to provide an avenue with which to guide the Unity community in bringing all things under the authority of God and lead our students to know and understand what it means to live a faith infused life.
The process of growth is challenging for Christians of all ages given the complex nature of the world in which we live. However, living and learning through a faith lens is especially challenging for teenagers. And although not all their choices and activities are directly tied to their spiritual growth, the cumulative impact of hundreds of decisions each day does influence developing faith.
One of the unfolding issues confronting our students is the rapid increase in vaping. E-cigarettes (or vapes) first came on the market in the early 2000’s. However, it was not until 2015 that companies began to market their products more specifically to minors with the intention, some would say, of getting them addicted. In Ottawa County, the Health Department reports 25% of high school seniors have vaped at least one time in the last thirty days. However, in one on one conversation, many high school students believe the number is significantly higher than 25%.
Despite the percentage debates, one issue is clear; vaping is a serious concern in every community.
Along with larger numbers of teenagers experimenting with vaping, an increasing awareness of the negative impacts on the health of users has also been exposed.
Primary among health concerns is the high level of nicotine contained inhaled by users of vapes. Each pod (the small container containing the liquid which when heated becomes aerosolized) contains as much nicotine as twenty traditional cigarettes. The Centers for Disease Control places nicotine on its top five list of most addictive substances.
Additionally, the vapor produced in the heating process contains chemicals considered dangerous to humans.
On Wednesday October 2 a law prohibiting the sale of flavored pods went into effect in Michigan. This signals a positive step forward in attempting to reduce the number of teenagers drawn to vaping. The Federal Government is also considering a similar nationwide ban.
At Unity, we work to guide our students in knowledge and understanding of issues like vaping. We talk about them openly, not only in the context of awareness, but as part of a process of learning how to make decisions which align with who they are and who God has called them to be.
We encourage parents to continue those conversations at home. It’s never easy to talk about difficult topics. However, the benefit of creating open dialogue far outweighs the uncomfortable awkwardness of the first few difficult discussions.
Here are a few resources you can check out to increase your own knowledge and understanding.
CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Protected
Harvard Health Publishing
May our colors run deep,
Director of Spiritual Life and Leadership