2019 Winter HSI Newsletter_WESD

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What you need to know

Statistics from the ¹2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey and ²2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey)


of high school students drank some amount of alcohol in past 30 days¹


of high school students and 5% of middle schoolers used e-cigs in the past 30 days ²

Dear HSI Community, On December 18, 2018, Surgeon General Dr, Jerome Adams issued a rare advisory: “I am officially declaring e-cigarette use {vaping} among youth an epidemic in the United States.” (https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov) The young developing brain is more susceptible than the adult brain to nicotine addiction. Indicators of withdrawal for active users can include symptoms such as anxiety, mood changes, loss of focus, and sleep problems.


increase in e-cig use among high school students from 2017 to 2018, and 48% for middle schoolers²

these devices, along with advice on how to start a conversation with your teen. Our HSI Wellness Team followed up with letters to their districts this past fall. This spring, SHD is collaborating with several community partners such as Dignity Health Sequoia Hospital, San Mateo County Health Department Tobacco Prevention Program, Breathe California, and the Stanford Tobacco Prevention Toolkit, in their education and prevention efforts. We want to inform the community about the real risk vaping poses to our youth. In this newsletter, we speak to experts in the field and our own school administrators, review articles, present facts, and more.

Unfortunately, unscrupulous vaping companies can easily tap into that vulnerability to ensure that they will have an entire generation of future customers. They do this through manipulation of We hope you will be our allies in protecting our our youth through social media advertising and youth. sleek product designs that mirror popular tech products. Sincerely, This epidemic has garnered local, state and federal attention. Last month, Senator Jerry Hill introduced an assembly bill to limit the sale of Karen E. Li, MD e-cigarette flavors and to require an adult Director of School Health signature upon delivery for online device purchases. Last summer, I sent out a letter (see page 5) informing high school parents of the dangers of 525 Veterans Blvd,

Redwood City, CA 94063

( 650) 421-2155


Nicotine Poisoning Alert By 2015, e-cigarette use by

As of 2016, the federal government requires liquid nicotine to be sold in childproof

high school and middle

packaging. The American Academy of Pediatrics

school students had

(AAP) urges parents who use e-cigarettes to store

surpassed cigarette use.

the products and any refill materials in childresistant packaging and out of the reach of children. There are three routes of exposure that are toxic:

4 out of 5

who have

1) the child can be exposed to nicotine, even without swallowing, through the mucous

used tobacco started with a flavored product.

membranes in the mouth 2) the child swallows the e-liquid, and it is absorbed by the intestinal tract

A single Juulpod contains

40 mg of nicotine, which is more than the nicotine yield of a pack of cigarettes.

3) the e-liquid is absorbed through the child’s skin, just like a nicotine patch The bottles are sold in various sizes, from 10 milliliters (2 teaspoons) to more than 30 milliliters (6 teaspoons) and come in a variety of nicotine strengths. Five milliliters (1 teaspoon) of concentrated liquid nicotine can be fatal for the

63% of Juul users

do not know the product always contains nicotine.

Resource list for parents: 





FDA Tobacco Products

Glossary of Terms

average 26-pound toddler.

Liquid Nicotine Poisoning Symptoms:     

Vomiting Fast heartbeat Jittery and unsteady appearance Difficulty breathing Increased saliva

If you suspect your child was exposed to liquid nicotine, call the Poison Control Center hotline: 800-222-1222 immediately. For more info, visit the Poison Control website.

The article above is an excerpt from the online article “Liquid Nicotine Used in E-Cigarettes Can Kill Children.” To read the full article, click HERE.


Talking to Youth


Preschool to Age 7

Ages 12 and up

Before the Talk

Lay the Groundwork Whenever you give a fever medicine or an antibiotic to your child,

Know the facts.

Be patient and ready to listen. 

you can discuss why and when these medicines should be given.

Take Advantage of Teachable Moments


The #1 reason young people try these devices is because they have flavors in them.

nicotine addiction, and what smoking does

in a nonjudgmental, open-ended way, you're

advertisement, for example, take the opportunity to talk about it. 

Explain the addictive nature of


Why don’t you want me to use ecigarettes?

more likely to get an

You go to the bathroom,

Show your kids that you're there’s a zero percent listening and really paying chance that anyone’s attention to them by smoking a cigarette and “So what I am hearing you there’s a

need to talk,” you might ask

Answer Their Questions*

about drugs. By asking the questions

practicing active listening:

Rather than saying “we

When you are out and about and see an

It looks like a USB drive. It doesn’t look suspicious.

Ask them what they think

honest response.

about a situation you witness together.

TV with a cigarette, talk about smoking,

Ages 8 to 12

Start the Conversation

your teen what he or she thinks

If you see a character in a movie or on

to a person's body.

Set a example by being

50/50 chance

say is— ”

that there’s five guys

Current events, such as


What’s the big deal about nicotine?  

Aren’t e-cigarettes safer than

conventional cigarettes?

I thought e-cigarettes didn’t have nicotine— just water and flavoring? 

Keep the Conversation Going

steroid use in professional

Share resources listed below.

sports, can be

Remind and repeat.

springboards for casual conversations about the legal and health consequences of drug use.

For the source of these tips and additional talking tips, click HERE.

Watch the video Juulers Against Juul

with your teen.

*For the answers to these questions and additional talking tips, click HERE.

INTERVIEWS By Stacey Holmes

Bonnie Halpern-Felsher Mindy Shelton Bonnie Halper-Felsher, PhD., is a professor at Stanford University and the founder and executive director of the Tobacco Prevention Toolkit, a free online curriculum aimed at reducing and preventing youth tobacco use. Currently, she is promoting the Toolkit with the goal of reaching 500,000 youth by 2020.

Q: What are the main issues today? A: The number one issue for youth and ATOD is vaping/e-cigarettes. Other significant issues are opioids, marijuana, and alcohol. Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, how big of a problem is vaping? A: An 8 out of 10. I have been asked daily, since last October, to talk about this subject. Two areas of focus are detection and addiction. There are two groups of high schoolers— one group that knows about vaping and don’t use. The other group knows about vaping and uses.

Bottom line: Your high schooler knows about what is going on. Q: If you had one wish to help this problem, what would it be? A: I wish for all parents to get educated. It is crucial to get educated and to have open dialogues with your children. Don’t be afraid to talk and stay current. Start the conversation about tobacco, including vaping, in 4th grade. For parents who are interested in making an impact at a national level, please feel free to contact me at bonnieh@stanford.edu.

Mindy Shelton is the Vice-Principal at Central Middle School in San Carlos. She explains that many students don’t understand the harmful effects of vaping.

Ms. Shelton’s concerns include: 

Kids describe “no-nic* juice” as safe. They don’t realize there are still harmful chemicals inside.

*Disclaimer: No-nic juice may contain nicotine. The manufacturing process is not yet federally regulated and we often do not know what contents are in e-cigarettes.

Many students don’t think to ask what is in a vape before trying it and have no way of knowing how much nicotine, marijuana, or other substances are included. 

It is hard for parents to keep up with what these vaping devices look like. They can resemble, among other things, a stylus or a flash drive. After seeing examples of some common devices, one parent commented that they had seen something similar in their child’s room but didn’t realize what it was.

Ms. Shelton encourages parents to talk to their children and trust their gut. For example, if you see them having extra charging cords, that may be an indicator. If something feels out of place, follow up.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT Dear HSI Community, We want to inform families about a recent upsurge in the use of vaping devices by middle and high school students. Teens who vape nicotine may find it difficult to stop, as nicotine is extremely addictive. They often think it's just water vapor, but the enticing fruit, candy, and mint flavored solutions can contain high levels of nicotine, along with other toxic chemicals, that are harmful to the developing teen brain.

Assorted vape pens

Suorin Drop


They are marketed as JUUL, Suorin Drop,

Suorin Air, or Phix. These devices are small and easy to conceal.  They can look like a thumb drive, can be recharged in a laptop, and can be refilled with other substances such as THC/ marijuana oil. There is minimal vapor, and the only odor may be that of fruit, candy, or mint, which appeal to youth. The nicotine in one JUUL pod at least equals that in a pack of cigarettes (20 cigarettes). Other devices, often referred to as “wax pens,” are sold specifically for the vaping of marijuana. Similar to other marijuana products such as “edibles” (marijuana in cookies, cakes, candy, etc.), these vape devices are marketed to youth, despite the legal age of 21 for use of nicotine, tobacco, or the recreational use of marijuana.


HAVING A CONVERSATION Ideally, it’s best to start the conversation with your teen without causing alarm. Get their perspective, and ask “why” before suggesting “why not.” Realize that they may have done their own extensive online research. Share your concerns and the facts, while understanding that facts may not be initially accepted by your teen. The frontal lobe of the brain, responsible for decision making and critical thinking, has not yet fully matured. Try to determine if your teen is surrounded by vaping activity, takes part socially, or uses by themselves. Also keep in mind that the use of substances is often intertwined with mental health issues, so seek help for your teen if you are concerned about signs such as depression or anxiety. For further information: NY Times: Talking with Teens About Vaping For a list of local community resources, click HERE.

the goal of helping others to find “a happy place” Mia Garcia— Award Winner in a safe and supportive environment. Woodside Elementary 8

After presenting her ideas to the school th

faculty, Mia has founded a student-led

grader Mia Garcia organization that seeks to create a safe and is the 2018 inviting environment for everyone regardless of winner of the

their gender or sexual orientation. The

Juan Barajas

organization, Fusion, would be a place where

Youth Leadership Award. The award, meant to

students could drop in whenever they feel

recognize leadership, has been given to various

stressed, emotional, overwhelmed, or if they

youth throughout the past 11 years in honor of

simply need a quiet place to relax. Mia describes:

the foundational work Juan

“kids need an expanded

Barajas accomplished with Outlet.

Founded in 1997, Outlet

hangout spot” and as well “to

empowers Lesbian, Gay, Bisex-

talk about social-emotional

ual, Transgender, Queer and

issues including stress, friend

recognizes LGBTQ+ youth who

Questioning (LGBTQQ+) youth

problems, mental health,

have made outstanding

and builds safe and accepting

gossip, and unnecessary

achievements not only in their

communities through support,

bullying” among other topics.

activism supporting the

education, and advocacy.

She notes these areas of

Mia’s recent award

community, but also in their own personal growth. Outlet is youth-centered, respecting all individuals and honoring

concern are not always being addressed at an early enough age and that students can benefit from “opening

their differences. Outlet program staff provide a up to such mental health topics much sooner.” safe environment that is confidential, inclusive,

Mia’s vision has led to the involvement of

and non-judgmental. Striving for social justice

several faculty members at Woodside

and engaging youth in achieving freedom,

Elementary in developing just such a “safe place”

fairness, and equality for all are the core

to be available for all the students at the school.

elements of the program. Outlet services

Her dream is for the program to continue on

support the emotional, physical, and social

after her graduation so that future students can

development of youth as whole individuals.

share the same “safe place” benefits that have

It was at Outlet that Mia describes that she “found her voice” and realized how she could both become a better person and find

meant so much to her personal growth as well. A big thank you to Sequoia Healthcare District for supporting Woodside Elementary

meaningful ways to give back to the community. School and the development of Fusion Club, It was a place “where I was not being judged and Outlet, and Adolescent Counseling Services. felt safe and included.” From this, she developed

Social-Emotional Learning: Staff Education

To do this, we must learn strong selfawareness, self-monitoring, and self-control. We must learn how to adapt our physical posture depending on the context, how we use our eyes to better understand others and communicate, and tools for conversational language to relate to others.

This past month, Jennifer Mitchell, our wonderful speech therapist, presented an 3. Our social thinking and social skills directly interesting and informative program on impact how others feel about us. This impacts how we are treated, how we feel about others, social thinking. Here are the takeaways: 1. Social thinking is our meaning maker. We

and ultimately — how we feel about ourselves!

At the end of the day, our social experience is an emotional experience. The purpose of social thinking is to produce social behavior The first step to improving social thinking is to that gives others the emotional experience keenly observe the social world that surrounds you intend to give. us. The Social Thinking Methodology teaches 2. When seeking to engage or simply share people to be more aware of their emotions space with others, we use social thinking to and better predict and relate to the emotions adapt our social behaviors /skills effectively as of others.

observe and listen to interpret the perspectives of others.

a means to meet our social goals.

Parent Education Night: Woodside/Portola Valley This year, Sequoia Healthcare District and Children’s Health Council (CHC) are partnering together with the Portola Valley and Woodside School Districts to bring in professional speakers to work with our parent community. In the fall, Ali Meyers presented to our families on “Building Your Child’s Executive Functioning Skills.” Parents learned about Executive Functioning (EF) skills development and methods for organization and time management that can be taught in the home. In February, Dr. Pearston will present information on “Managing Anxiety and Building SelfEfficacy”. Families will learn strategies on building resilience and how to teach students to manage anxiety about school, homework, and effectively cope with stress and failure.

A big thank you to Sequoia Healthcare District and CHC for sponsoring these events.

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