Students: No vape in the 808

  • James “Kimo” Rosen / Special to The Garden Island

    Keegan Kessler, vice president of the Kapaa High student council, kneeling bottom right on Kuhio Highway in Kapaa Friday, is joined by schoolmates in sign-holding to warn motorists about the dangers of vaping. She said the demonstration is part of No Vape Week.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kauai County Councilmember Felicia Cowden, right, joins Kauai High School students in an anti-vaping sign-waving campaign Friday at the intersection of Ahukini Road and Kapule Highway near Lihue Airport.

  • Dennis Fujijmoto / The Garden Island

    Kauai High School students take their anti-vaping message to the streets Friday at the intersection of Ahukini Road and Kapule Highway near Lihue Airport.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kauai High School students Mayumi Fulgencio, right, and Cheyanne Fujii, lead a line of students engaged in a sign-waving protest against vaping Friday at the intersection of Ahukini Road and Kapule Highway near Lihue Airport.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kauai High School students Holly Taguma and Yuna Ong lead a line of students waging a sign-waving campaign against vaping Friday at the intersection of Ahukini Road and Kapule Highway near Lihue Airport.

LIHUE — About 25 Kauai High students gathered at the Lihue Airport intersection on Friday, waving signs and making noise to raise awareness about vaping.

They were part of groups of students islandwide that held demonstrations in their respective towns. Students held signs touting phrases like “Ditch the Vape” and “More A’s Less O’s” — the “O” in the last phrase refers to smoke rings and tricks people like to do with e-cigarette vapor.

“We know it’s not going to stop overnight, and that it’s a big deal,” said Isabel Gampon, who has been co-leading the Kauai High group that’s working to educate peers on the dangers of e-cigarette use, commonly known as vaping.

She continued: “We’re here to generate awareness, to put it out there for adults to know about and understand.”

It’s part of several, month-long events hosted by the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii.

“I think that people think it’s safer than smoking and they’re following trends,” said Hailey Silva, a student at Kauai High.

Classmate Holly Taguma pointed out health complications that are linked to vaping, like popcorn lung and nicotine addiction.

“You’re inhaling chemicals that deteriorate your lungs,” Taguma said.

Studies are ongoing on the health effects of smoking electronic cigarettes. Some allege it’s a safe way to help quit smoking conventional cigarettes, while others say vaping is just as addictive. Both contain nicotine.

The Centers for Disease Control say young people who start using e-cigarettes may be more likely to pick up traditional smokes in the future.

Vape pen designs have become increasingly diverse, with some of them — like the JUUL brand — shaped like a USB or flash drive.

“They (students) bring them out in class, and because it looks like a USB, teachers don’t know,” said Bryden Ka‘auwai, who has been co-leading the Kauai High awareness group with Gampon.

Taguma pointed out the scents of many of the vape pens are fairly easy to pass off and explain away.

“People smell it and they just say it’s their body spray,” she said.

The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii supports state House Bill 276, which would prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products.

Monday kicks off “No Vape Week” at Kapaa High School. A mural commemorating the week will be unveiled at the school on Feb. 19, to include a mayoral proclamation and ceremony.

Throughout the month there will also be vape education programs in schools.

An Ohana Fun Day &Prevention Awareness gathering, sponsored by Hale ‘Opio Kauai, is set at Lydgate Park on March 19.

•••

Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@thegardenisland.com.

4 Comments
  1. Charlie Chimknee February 9, 2019 8:15 am Reply

    VAPING = POP CORN LUNGS = EARLY DEATH BY SUFFOCATION

    Don’t destroy the tiny ALVEOLI Air Sacs in your Lungs with Vaping…!

    Why…? When you damage the Air Sacs in your Lungs you Die of Slow Suffocation but Bu

    Look at the FOOL with the JUUL in the MIRROR…!

    Stupid Okole…!


  2. Dude February 9, 2019 11:21 am Reply

    Instead of more legislation and laws that clog up the courts why don’t parents educate and raise their own kids to be responsible. Maybe a lame and outdated idea!


  3. I saw a Vampire once February 9, 2019 11:32 am Reply

    I don’t see a problem. If they want to make it harder on themselves by not breathing properly or just being lethargic, then it is their problem and nobody else’s. If they want to have some tumor or cancerous growth inside of their bodies, then let them. I think the 1st amendment right rings in clear here.


  4. Joe Public February 9, 2019 4:27 pm Reply

    At least these young folks are showing that they care..good job.


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