Inter-Tribal Council working to stop e-cigarette use among students

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — As students across the country head back to the classroom, the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan along with the National Native Network are continuing the conversation about e-cigarette use and the effects on students. 

Program Manager for the National Native Network Hannah Bartol spoke with WJMN, News 8’s sister station in the U.P., about how early youth are getting introduced to these products.

“With vaping, we are seeing an increase in the younger population. I’ve had instances of second and third graders having vapes in schools,” said Bartol.

National Native Network said they are trying to encourage school curriculum addressing the effects of smoking and vaping, including second and third-hand smoke at home.

“They don’t know much about vaping. They think that its better than cigarettes. You know, ‘I’m just smoking the water vapor or it’s just water, not anything else.’ We know that there’s a lot more nicotine than some cigarettes or harmful chemicals that can cause cancer down the line so we’re trying to drill any information that they’ll take in,” added Bartol.

“The CDC describes e-cigarettes as electronic devices that heat a liquid and produce an aerosol, or mix of small particals in the air,” ITCMI said in a release. “E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. Most have a battery, a heating element, and a place to hold a liquid. Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items.”

ITCM explained e-cigarettes don’t always look like tobacco products and has many names, including “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems.”

KeepItSacred.org has resources on how to get help and provides information for people in any state.

“In the Midwest region, like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and a little bit into Ontario above Lake Superior and down, we’re called the Anishinaabe people,” said Bartol.

She explained how tobacco is sacred, and how products like e-cigarettes or commercial tobacco goes against traditional uses.

Bartol said tobacco is one of the most exploited plants in the entire world. She said anyone can be an ally for native communities.

“Even if you don’t personally align with that or just personally practice that. Just understanding that there is another world behind this plant that other people use and other people keep sacred,” she said. “Do your part. Whether it be quit smoking or informing yourself about the different uses of this plant. “

If you or your teen would like free help to quit using e-cigarettes, Native Americans in Michigan can call 1-855-5AI-QUIT (1-855-524-7848) or visit aiquitline.com for free culturally-tailored quit coaching, or you can also call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free help.

CDC resources:

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