CARPENTERSVILLE, Ill. – Students would be required to learn about the dangers of using e-cigarettes and other electronic vaping devises in their health classes under new legislation sponsored by state Rep. Suzanne Ness, D-Crystal Lake.
“Unfortunately, the amount of young people who have picked up smoking e-cigarettes has significantly increased in recent years,” said Ness. “Many vaping device companies advertise their products as being a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes, but health experts have proven that they are not safe for adolescents and teens. These devices can have very harmful consequences with regular use for younger people, who can develop a nicotine addiction which could harm the developing adolescent brain.”
Ness is a co-sponsor of House Bill 3202, which would add electronic cigarettes and other vapor devices to the list of topics required to be covered in the Comprehensive Health Education Program, which is the state statute that provides guidelines for health education for all elementary and secondary schools in Illinois. Ness’ bill passed out of the House of Representative unanimously and is awaiting consideration in the Senate.
A 2018 survey from the Pew Research Center found that 22 percent of 10th grade students and 27 percent of 12th grade students reported having recently used vaping devices at the time the survey was taken. The center reports that those numbers have risen by eight percentage points and 11 percentage points respectively since 2015. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vapor produced by e-cigarettes can contain cancer-causing substances, volatile organic compounds and heavy metals.
“Just as students are learning about the harmful effects of smoking traditional cigarettes in health class, it is crucial that they are learning about e-cigarettes and other vapes as well,” said Ness. “This piece of legislation will do just that, and hopefully reduce youth and teen-use in months and years to come.”