On Wednesday, February 19, 2020, at New Hope Solebury High School, New Hope Solebury Cares and New Hope Solebury School District held a Town Hall to provide a forum to address vaping and our youth.

Many prominent individuals attended this event, including U.S. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick, PA State Representative Wendi Thomas, New Hope Mayor Larry Keller, New Hope Police Chief Michael Cummings and New Hope Solebury Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Lentz. Also in attendance were New Hope Solebury Cares Board Members Pam Milcarek, Detective Koretzky, and Dori Dugan, NHS Cares staff members, concerned parents, and community members.

Philadelphia DEA representatives Robert Niczyporowicz and Frank McCartney gave an impassioned and detailed presentation. It included an overview of the numerous devices that can be used to vape as well as the substances that are being vaped. Their presentation stressed the dangers of unregulated e-liquids (nicotine) and THC (marijuana) oils and noted the destructive effects of marijuana on the still-developing adolescent brain. They stressed the difference in potency between marijuana of the past and today and spoke about methods of marijuana use including smoking, marijuana concentrates that are vaped or dabbed, and edibles. It was encouraging to hear that in recent talks with school children they have recognized that students are more aware of the risks associated with vaping than they were just two years ago. Unfortunately, many students of high school age started vaping before the devastating health effects were so well known and are facing nicotine addiction. The DEA representatives informed the audience that variations of the apparatus, substances, and laws related to vaping are changing at a rapid pace.

The Bensalem Police Department "Behind Closed Doors" exhibit was available for attendees to walk through a mock teen bedroom. The purpose of this guided tour is to give parents an idea of where contraband can be hidden. The tour creates awareness and is a prevention tool for at-risk behaviors.

Organizations such as NHS Cares, the DEA, Al-Anon, NHS Cares TODAY Club, and The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania were present to provide information and answer questions. Vaping paraphernalia was exhibited to allow parents to see what their children may be using. Participants broke into small groups for guided discussions. Parents, government officials, and school administrators had open discussions about what brought them to the town hall and what as a community they could do to make a difference in the children's experiences. Among the topics discussed were concerns about prevention, addiction, school policies, and legislation.

In summary, all in attendance agreed that the health and safety of our children is paramount. As a community we are all willing to help, primarily by talking to our youth and arming them with education and assistance to prevent them from forming the habit of vaping, quitting with the help of friends, family and trusted adults and ultimately to eliminate their access to these substances.

###