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Poison Prevention Program educates students on vapes

KINGWOOD — One-eighth of a teaspoon of nicotine can kill a toddler, according to Kim Liston, Community Programs coordinator at Preston Memorial Hospital.

That information is part of what Liston and other volunteers present to students during the Poison Prevention Program.

“Just since August of 2019, we’ve led e-cigarettes/vaping prevention presentations for all parents at Central Preston Middle School, all sixth-eighth grade students at South Preston School and all sixth-eighth grade students at West Preston School and students in Central Preston Middle School After School Explorers,” Liston said.

“We’ve also staffed an e-cig/vaping prevention information booth at Central Preston Middle School orientation and South Preston School’s parent night,” she said.

She said volunteers put a vape look-alike in the poison prevention game where kids sort materials into Mr. Yuk and Smiley face boxes. This allows them to talk with younger kids about what to not touch or taste.

“We’ve taken this game to West Preston School’s touch-a-truck event, Kingwood Elementary School’s back-to-school bash and After School Explorers Lights On After School event and many other community events like our February health fair and the Albright Street Fair,” Liston said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes.

Nationally, about 50% of calls to poison control centers for e-cigarettes are for kids 5 or younger.

According to the CDC, e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless water vapor. It contains nicotine, ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs; flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds; cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead.

All JUUL e-cigarettes have a high level of nicotine. According to the manufacturer, a single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.

Liston said the Poison Prevention Program is just another way PMH warns students about the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping.

“I do think this quote is important for parents and families to hear — ‘Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes.’ ”

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