Bismarck Public Schools helps students quit vaping

Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 9:05 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2023 at 11:01 AM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - A 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey found about one in ten middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. Bismarck Public Schools is taking action to spark conversation about the devices and extinguish tobacco and vaping addiction.

E-Cigarettes were marketed in 2003 as an alternative to conventional smoking, a device could hold a non-nicotine liquid solution to replicate the routine of smoking without the addictive ingredients. However, young adults and teens quickly picked up the trend and now many report using them every day. One student at Bismarck Public Schools recalls how he started vaping.

“My friends started doing it, in like, 5th grade, and I kind of got peer pressured, not really, into doing it, and then I got addicted,” said one Bismarck Public School student.

That student started waking up with severe headaches from not vaping and wanted to quit.

To help their students kick the habit, Bismarck Public Schools partnered with Burleigh Public Health to train nurses to be Tobacco Cessation Specialists. The program comes from Mayo Clinic and is comprised of five 30-minute sessions.

“We just kind of get to know the student, their history with vaping or nicotine addiction. After that, we follow the Mayo Clinic’s program, every class is individualized per student, but we do follow the Mayo Clinic’s program,” said Kelly Dietz, a school nurse with Bismarck Public Schools and also a certified Tobacco Cessation Specialist.

Students who have been through the program say it made them more confident in their decision to quit and since quitting have noticed positive changes.

“I feel like I can breath more and my lungs feel more healthy and I guess my headaches are gone now and I don’t crave it anymore,” said one Bismarck Public School student.

In North Dakota, you need to be 21 years old to purchase vaping devices, but minors can easily access them if they are left out at home or can purchase them on websites where a little white lie about your age and a click of the mouse gets you to an online store with access to devices and e-liquids.

Bismarck Public Schools reports through December they’ve had 32 students referred to the program and, of those, nine have quit smoking and four are still working with a nurse in the program. They anticipate more students will join and encourage parents or students to reach out for help, and they can remain anonymous,