The effects of the vaping epidemic reach South Dakota



Vaping has become a national epidemic, much like smoking. For instance, Apple has recently removed all vaping apps from its stores.

Landon DeBoer, Sports Editor

Over the past week, the South Dakota Department of Health has confirmed two cases of vaping-related illnesses among South Dakota citizens.

The two confirmed cases were of a 20-year-old and a 24-year-old who contracted respiratory illness from vaping. With these being the first two incidents reported in the state, South Dakota joins the list as the 34th state to report a severe respiratory illness contracted from the use of e-cigarettes.

According to the CDC, there have been over 450 vaping-related incidents that have been reported so far, and the majority of these cases have been linked to the use of THC oil in vaping products. Within the over 450 reported vaping-related cases, six deaths have now been reported to have been linked to the use of e-cigarettes, according to the CDC.
The symptoms of the two cases in South Dakota included shortness of breath, coughing and chest pain. In more extreme cases, vaping can cause nausea, vomiting, fatigue and if bad enough, death.

With the six reported deaths from vaping, the epidemic has caught the eye of President Trump, who has toyed with the idea of banning flavored vaping products. By banning flavored vaping products, the Trump administration is hoping this could drop the number of teenagers using e-cigarette products and help get the vapes back to their intended use: to help people quit smoking.

Looking at the vaping epidemic on a more local level, the Sioux Falls School District is doing their part to spread the word about the dangers of e-cigarette use. The Sioux Falls School District has changed their policies around vaping and vaping related products. If caught with tobacco, vaping supplies or other substances in violation of the district’s policy, students, regardless if they are 18 or not can be suspended for up to 10 days.

Alongside the harsher policy attempting to decrease vaping, the Sioux Falls School District has begun to share information on vaping with students and parents through a social media campaign, newsletters and posters being hung throughout schools. The district is also encouraging other students to speak up if they notice one of their peers vaping.

“We have had students police their own student body, by informing us,” said Sioux Falls School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Maher, according to KSFY. “It has been part of the ‘See Something, Say Something’ model that we have.”

The vaping epidemic does not seem to be ending anytime soon if one does not step in, so yes, if one sees something, say something.

To help oneself or a peer quit vaping, reach out to a parent, trusted teacher or counselor for help. Otherwise, one may call the SD Quitline at 1-866-737-8487 to help quit the use of e-cigarettes.