Do you really know what's in your vape pen?
A new video series from St. Elizabeth Healthcare aims to find out. Led by "Sadie the Science Lady," the bite-sized videos are targeted at educating children and teens about the cringe-worthy science behind vaping and prevent them from picking up the habit in the first place.
Sadie is played by high school student Erikka Franklin, a release says, and the character is portrayed as a younger version of Bill Nye the Science Guy (and much, much hipper than Don Herbert's Mr. Wizard in the 1980s). With her dopey sidekick Sam, Sadie conducts experiments on vaping devices and e-cigarettes — often with hair-raising results for Sam.
One of the prominent messages Sadie gives is that "Big Tobacco" (dominant brands such as Camel, Marlboro and Winston) frequently targets kids with vaping items in hopes that they'll remain hooked on nicotine as they grow into adults. In the video "Vape or Not a Vape?" Sadie demonstrates vaping items that manufacturers disguise as regular things, such as markers, necklaces and even hair scrunchies.
In another video, Sadie reminds viewers that vape ingredients contain aerosols — the same thing that can be found in hairspray, which Sadie demonstrates on Sam.
"Keep it clean. Don't vape," Sadie says at the end of every video.
The series currently features 13 videos that will be rolled out over the next year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that vaping and e-cigarettes are not as harmless as they seem and actually can significantly affect kids' development. The nicotine that these items contain harms the adolescent brain, affects memory and attention, and contains chemicals. Vaping paraphernalia also can cause fires and explosions and lead to dependence on other drugs later, the CDC says.
"Vaping is now a top concern for parents, school administrators and community members," Jeanie Foley, the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute prevention and wellness manager, says in a release. "Our goal is for Sadie to connect the dots with these fun science-based activities while exposing all the dangers of vaping."
St. Elizabeth's release also notes a CDC study in which approximately 19.6% of high school students and 4.7% of middle school students say they use e-cigarettes.
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