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Hope Christian Academy students armed with info on smoking, vaping

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A customer exhales vapor while using an electronic cigarette at the NXNW Vapor store in Sacramento, California, on Thursday, June 28, 2018. David Paul Morris / Bloomberg

All 41 Hope Christian Academy students attended the Break Free Youth Action Summit about tobacco prevention last Wednesday.

The group made almost a third of the approximately 150 attendees in Bismarck where the summit was held for the second consecutive year. In the summit, students learned about tobacco policies and advocacy.

"We really wanted them to understand what the laws say about tobacco use and the lack of laws that are in place for vaping and those other activities," said Secondary Principal David Del Padre. "We want them to understand that they have a voice, and they can use that voice, and there’s resources out there to help them if they want to be a voice against smoking and vaping."

Del Padre said the school's staff will talk to students about the possibility of creating a youth forum for tobacco prevention like the one that organized the summit. The Break Free youth group works with their local health unit and police to inform the public about the dangers of tobacco and vaping use.

"The dangers of it is hopefully what will inspire them, if you will, to want to get out and take action and make a difference in their community," he said.

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Del Padre does not see vaping as a problem for Hope Christian.

"We don’t have that problem at our school, but because of the way our school operates as a co-op for sports and stuff, I know that our students see that from students at the public high school," he said. "They are exposed to it in some way, but it’s not as impactful as like at the public schools, in Bismarck especially. (The students) talked about (renaming) their bathrooms . . . Juul rooms, because that’s where they sneak away to do their vaping."

Freshman Carlie Strand said she knows people who vape.

"I have a whole lot of friends at DHS who do, and I know there’s a crazy amount of kids there that do it," she said.

Strand said she had heard that vaping was dangerous, but was surprised by the severity of the problem.

"I’ve seen ads that it was dangerous, but I never knew how serious it was, especially the fact (that) 375 kids get addicted to nicotine each day in the U.S., which I thought was crazy," she said.

Junior Emma Dazell was against vaping before the summit, but the additional information will help her explain why to others.

"I think it definitely broadened my views on it. I was already against it and everything, but to actually now have proof and other evidences and other facts that I didn’t previously have . . . if I need to try to explain to someone why it’s harmful to them, it’s just easier," she said.

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Related Topics: HEALTHEDUCATIONDICKINSON
Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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