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January 27, 2022

Dear Smart supporter,     

Parenting is hard work!  Every day there seems to be something new to be worried about when it comes to our kids. One Chance to Grow Up strives to better support parents, educators and trusted adults where we can. We are excited to launch a new monthly education series called "Know THC". We hope this will help you stay up on the constantly changing marijuana of today while better supporting the kids in your lives. While it won’t cover every detail, we hope it serves as an important starting point for further learning and thoughtful discussions with your family and friends. Feel free to share!

Why it matters:

Marijuana vaping by school-aged youth doubled between 2013 and 2020.

Vaping is the act of inhaling a vapor created by an electronic cigarette or other vaping device.

A nebulizer is a medical device that changes liquid medicine into fine droplets (or mist) that are inhaled through a mouthpiece or mask.  It is a highly effective way of delivering medicine to the lungs for patients with asthma and other chronic lung ailments.

However, when THC is substituted for medicine, the lungs are bathed in potentially harmful chemicals. E-liquids usually include a mix of flavorings, aromatic additives, nicotine or THC and dissolved in an oily liquid base.  “We think that some of the vaporized elements of the oil are getting deep down into the lungs and causing an inflammatory response,” explains Dr. Broderick from the Hopkins Medicine article.

Healthy lungs are dark, representing normal air flow. Daniel’s lungs reflect the damage incurred and appear white due to lack of oxygen.

Dr. Hassan Nemeh, who led the surgical team, points to a scan of Daniel's damaged lungs before surgery.  Dr. Nemeh said "There was inflammation and scarring, and dead tissue. This is an evil that I haven't faced before."

Julie, a member of the One Chance team, had a close and devastating connection to this teenage boy and his seemingly “harmless “ choice to vape THC. In the summer of 2019, Daniel, a 17 year old high school student in Michigan, began vaping both nicotine and THC. After only a few months of vaping, his lungs were so damaged that he was hospitalized. Doctors at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital quickly determined that his lungs were injured and no longer functioning properly after vaping THC for a short time. In October of 2019, Daniel received the first double lung transplant as a result of vaping. Daniel’s life is forever changed with a lifetime of health concerns, daily medications, significantly reduced lung capacity and diminished quality of life.

What you need to know:

  • Vaping creates a discrete method for teens to use marijuana products. 
  • There may be virtually no external vapor or tell-tale "pot” smell except sometimes a sweet or fruity odor. 
  • Products are marketed to youth and include flavors to entice and devices that blend in with school supplies and other products kids might already have, like highlighters and USB drives.  
  • The banning of flavors for both nicotine and THC products remains controversial but would be beneficial when it comes to protecting children from initial experimentation and possible addiction to these products. 
  • Many teens believe that vape liquids are only water and do not understand that vapes contain chemical compounds that are dangerous and addictive.
  • For the parent or trusted adult, it can be extremely frustrating when vaping is suspected but the source or product cannot be located or is difficult to identify. Be diligent, ask questions if you see different behaviors or find something new or different in your teen’s room, backpack or car. Look closely to identify the product.

Please see examples of a few vaping devices below. Remember that marijuana products are evolving very rapidly. Unfortunately, many new, radically different and often kid-friendly products are constantly being introduced and aggressively marketed. Check out THCPhotos.org for current updates of today’s available products in states where THC is commercially available. Please visit our website if you would like more information and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you for your care and support in better protecting our kids. 

The One Chance Team




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One Chance to Grow Up
789 Sherman Street, Suite 250
Denver, Colorado 80203

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One Chance to Grow Up is an initiative developed by Smart Colorado that focuses on protecting kids across the nation from the dangers of today’s marijuana. We don’t take sides on the politics of legalization for adults but instead serve as a reliable resource for parents, media, policymakers, and all those who care about kids. Started by concerned parents, we’re a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by charitable contributions.

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