The kids are back in school, and as the parent of a teenager, it seems as though one of the biggest fears I have surrounds peer pressure and positive decision making. As a child enters the teenage years they tend to spend more time with their group of friends. I have no doubt that many friend groups make positive choices but the reality is peer pressure among teenagers is usually associated with risky, negative and impulsive choices.
This school year, our kids are going to be faced with different types of peer pressure and lots of challenging decisions. Smokeless Saturday, which is a diversionary program for kids that are caught on school property with tobacco products, received over 1,300 referrals in the 2018-19 school year. About 92% of these referrals were due to Electronics Nicotine Delivery Systems (ex. JUUL and Suorin). If we have 1,300 kids that got caught with these products, can you imagine how many didn’t get caught? Do you question how many students posted videos or pictures on social media with these products? Do you think that your kids are seeing these products on the bus? At the park? On Snapchat?
The use of electronic cigarettes has drastically increased which has left school administrators and parents asking what they can do. I encourage you to learn the current product trends (ex. devices, ingredients) and gather resources. Then start the conversation with your kids regarding peer pressure, drugs and addiction.
So as we kickoff the 2019-20 school year lets work together on continuing the conversation and educating youth about the risk of using tobacco products. Encourage your child to create a healthy lifestyle, make good choices and pursue meaningful goals over the upcoming school year.
For additional resources, please visit www.breathepa.org.