Northwest Technical School Health Science class under the direction of Instructor Bing Boettner will see three students competing virtually in the SkillsUSA national competition in June.

The students, Maryville High School seniors Sara Eckstein and Matt Goodridge, and junior Jag Galapin, are doing a presentation on vaping, with the target audience being younger people. The trio recognizes people have a choice, but is it good for you?

Goodridge said, “We knew it was a big issue with young adults and kids our age.”

The group started the project the beginning of January by sending surveys to local schools, North Nodaway, Maryville Middle School, St. Gregory, Northeast Nodaway, South Nodaway and Horace Mann; going on the internet and to their peers for information.

The state competition was also virtual. Competing virtually presented the trio with challenges.

“I bet it’s a big difference,” Goodridge said about the virtual competition. “The pressure to get the presentation under eight minutes in one take with no mistakes.”E-cigarettes are devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales or vapes. The liquid usually has nicotine and flavoring in it, and other additives. The nicotine in e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes is addictive. Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including:

• Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs,

• Flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease,

• Volatile organic compounds,

• Heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead.

One vaping pod contains the amount of chemicals that are in 20 cigarettes. This pod can be easily inhaled within a one day time period.

The vaping presentation was given at surrounding school and highlights the difference between e-cigarettes and tobacco. By doing this, the judges can see the trio has spread the word.

“I think they appreciate the presentation,” Galapin said. “It’s a shock for the sixth to eighth grades. It’s a good thing we came to them first. We hope it’s a positive influence on them.”

The trio thinks the younger students and high school students are more inclined to take the information seriously since it is being delivered by people their own age.

Eckstein said their surveys gave the information that 90.7 percent don’t use e-cigarettes but 9.3 percent will continue to use. This percentage is an increase from two years ago. With an upward increase in use, the presentation is pushing for young people to stop. It affects all organs and weakens the immune system.

Because young people use vaping as a mood enhancer or to treat depression, Galapin said there were other methods to battle these ailments including athletics which doesn’t affect the lungs.

A malfunction of the vaping device can cause permanent damage, young people have died from lung problems.

The long-term effects of vaping is not know but comparisons can be made to the damage of cigarettes.

Vaping can be used as acceptance within a group; flavors are marketed to the younger audience; the smell dissipates quickly; and the pods are easily disposable. Age restrictions are not stopping people, easy access and the ability to find someone older to buy.

Varying shapes of the e-cigarettes, can make it easy to hide. The trio said it’s important to educate parents on what to look for and how to stop or help their children.

Galapin said, “It’s important to educate teachers on what to look for. It is a true problem in today’s world.”

Short-term pleasures have made for an unnecessary controversy the presenters said. If it’s not prescribed by a medical professional then it shouldn’t be used, they all agreed.

Boettner provided the following information:

• The SkillsUSA Championship is a competitive event showcasing the best career and technical education students in the nation. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels.

• The philosophy of the championship is to reward students for excellence, involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and keep training relevant to employers’ needs.