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An important convapersation: event aimed to shine light on increasing vape usage

Vape+usage+has+increased+nationwide%2C+and+Lake+Zurich+is+no+exception.+Monday%27s+Convapersation+aims+to+address+this+rise+in+vape+and+e-cigarette+usage+for+parents+and+students.+
Vape usage has increased nationwide, and Lake Zurich is no exception. Monday's Convapersation aims to address this rise in vape and e-cigarette usage for parents and students.

Vape usage has increased nationwide, and Lake Zurich is no exception. Monday's Convapersation aims to address this rise in vape and e-cigarette usage for parents and students.

Photo used with permission of PBS.

Photo used with permission of PBS.

Vape usage has increased nationwide, and Lake Zurich is no exception. Monday's Convapersation aims to address this rise in vape and e-cigarette usage for parents and students.

Ria Talukder, Co-Spotlight Editor

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Parents and high schoolers can, at times, be on different wavelengths. What may seem plain and simple to an adult can be grey area for their child, and the same goes vice versa. The community is attempting to bridge this gap on Friday, initiating a necessary conversation between parent and child, specifically pertaining to vaping.

“Vaping I feel like is something that seemed to have come out of nowhere,” Jackie Burke, LZ parent said. “It was always there in the sense that this was something adults did to get off of smoking. But now it’s a whole different story with kids. They’re not vaping necessarily because they’re trying to get off an addiction and it begs the question of why.”

Burke describes a phenomenon that has had increasing popularity in high schools, including Lake Zurich. In a study conducted in 2015 alone, almost 40% of high school students admitted to trying vaping before they had graduated. According to Mark Frey, school resource officer and panel member for the Convapersation, in the Lake County area alone, it is three times more likely for juveniles to use vapes.

“A lot of it has to come with curiosity. They think it’s healthier or that’s what they’ve been told- that it’s healthier than regular tobacco products, as research is coming out, it is as dangerous, if not more. You’re inhaling toxins and chemicals,” Frey said.

This year alone, Frey has dealt with 50 incidents dealing with vaping. Word of mouth and general curiosity continually has increased vape usage, and Frey won’t be surprised if these numbers go up, he said. For this reason, he believes this event couldn’t be occuring at a better time.

“Starting at an early age [affects] your brain because of [nicotine]. Early vape use can lead to cigarette use,” Frey said. “We just want to try and promote healthy living and hopefully by educating the parents, at the home level they can make a change and that can translate into high school.”

Delaney Katz, senior, affirms Frey’s statements, agreeing with the power of curiosity and its influences on her classmates when it comes to vaping.

“I’ve had friends who vape because they think it’s not as bad as cigarettes or drinking,” Katz said. “But they aren’t really educated on it and neither are their parents. So if this event can bring light to this stuff, I’m all for it.”

Topics of discussion that will be brought to light include what smells parents can smell for to know if their child is vaping, the harmful side effects of vaping, and the ways a parent can communicate with their child on the subject matter, according to Frey.

“I’m looking forward to the event so I can say I fully understand,” Burke said. “It’s not about punishing my kid for me. If this is something that’s affecting all high schoolers, I want to understand where my kid is coming from so that we can have an actual two sided conversation, not just a lecture. I want to know what I can say to communicate why this could be a bad thing but still listen to their perspective. I think this event will really help parents understand.”

For those interested in the event, the Convapersation will be held on Monday, April 16th from 7-8:30pm at Lake Zurich High School in the library.

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An important convapersation: event aimed to shine light on increasing vape usage