Marin civil grand jury urges vaping crackdown

With youth vaping on the rise, the Marin County Civil Grand Jury recommends in a new report that health officials and educators increase countywide initiatives to prevent the use of electronic cigarettes.

“Marin County is in the midst of a health crisis concerning its youth — vaping,” the grand jury says in the report, “Vaping: An Under-the-Radar Epidemic.”

“Vaping among Marin County seventh, ninth, and 11th graders has more than doubled in the past two years, with 47% of 11th graders admitting to having vaped,” the report states. “As bad as these numbers are, they may actually be higher, as teens notoriously under-report on these types of surveys.”

To combat the vaping epidemic, the report suggests a four-pronged approach that includes limiting the availability of flavored tobacco; educating students, teachers and parents; enforcing flavored tobacco sales bans; and supporting students who already have an addiction to nicotine.

“The grand jury is highlighting an area that I totally agree with — we need to do more,” said Mary Jane Burke, Marin County superintendent of schools, who called it “not just a school issue, it’s a community issue.”

“It will be a collaborative effort countywide that I believe will make the difference,” she said.

Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County public health officer, said the health department and the county Office of Education have teamed up to educate children and parents. Willis said with the grand jury’s recommendation he plans to double down.

“The real answer is a combination of education and policy changes,” he said. “Raising awareness of the issue and sending a clear message that vaping is harmful, especially for young people.”

E-cigarettes, also known as vapes, are battery-operated devices that heat up liquid nicotine to generate an aerosol that users inhale.


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