Dr. Heidi T. Riccio, Superintendent
565 Maple Street
Hathorne, MA 01937
For Immediate Release
Saturday, March 2, 2019
Contact: Jessica Sacco
Email: [email protected]
Essex Tech Hosts Teen Vaping Conference with Attorney General Maura Healey
DANVERS — Superintendent Heidi Riccio is pleased to announce that Essex Tech, in conjunction with the Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, Inc., hosted a Youth Vaping Conference yesterday where Attorney General Maura Healey spoke to attendees about education and prevention efforts going on at the state level.
“We greatly appreciate the Attorney General taking time out of her busy schedule to talk about this growing trend among students in every community,” Superintendent Riccio said. “Supporting our students and educating them about the dangers of vaping will be a crucial preventative step moving forward.”
During her presentation, Healey emphasized the insidious nature of Juul and e-cigarette companies, which have marketed candy flavored cartridges and cartoon themed covers to children and teens. She recounted a handful of interactions she’s had with educators around the state who have witnessed the rise in youth vaping addiction.
“People think because something is legal that it’s safe — we know that not to be the case,” Healey said.
Educators, health officials, and law enforcement members from around the state attended the conference, and shared their own concerns and observations about the teen vaping culture during a question and answer period with Healey after her speech.
Healey stressed the importance of educating students about the health risks of vaping, as well as providing social emotional, substance use disorder, and behavioral health resources and support to students who may already be addicted to vaping.
“We need to stop addiction before it sets in,” Healey said. “And we need to empower our kids to make healthy decisions.”
As addiction to vaping has become a more prevalent problem among teens, Healey and her office have sent out cease and desist letters to companies that do not meet Massachusetts regulations. Healey’s office is also currently investigating Juul, the largest e-cigarette seller in the country.
Additional speakers at the conference included: State Sen. Jason Lewis, North Carolina State University Research Scientist Cynthia Grondin, Westwood-Mansfield Pediatric Association Consultant Lester Hartman, Boston Children’s Hospital Government Relations Specialist Jamie Gaynes, Wakefield Unified Prevention Coalition Director Catherine Dhingra, Melrose Board of Health Regional Tobacco Prevention Program Coordinator Maureen Buzby and Winchester Police Department School Resource Officer Sgt. Dan Perenick.
“It was great to see so many experts in law enforcement, the medical field and in education come together to share their knowledge and ideas on how to combat teen vaping,” Superintendent Riccio said. “Thank you to all the presenters and to the Middlesex Partnerships for Youth for organizing and making this event possible, and for giving Essex Tech the opportunity to host such an important conference.”