To the Editor:

As a public health professional, I was happy to learn that vaping was on the agenda for the city council/school board meeting on Oct. 22, the same day that Governor Tim Walz went on a multi-city tour to talk to Minnesota teens. As a father, I would strongly encourage local leaders to complement regulatory policies and disciplinary strategies (e.g., detention) with education.

We need adolescents to understand that we are not trying to prevent them from “growing up too fast” (taking on a habit that is acceptable for adults), and I fear that is the impression we are unintentionally giving them when we try to prevent them from using e-cigarettes at school or in public places without full explanation. We also need to recognize that in addition to bricks and mortar, many of these products are sold online and much harder to regulate in that space.

E-cigarettes have nicotine in them, and that nicotine is particularly harmful to developing brains. The companies selling to kids have targeted them without regard to these health impacts. Providing this context to our teens and preteens may be more important than people realize.

Matt Flory

St. Louis Park

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