Friday, September 6th, 2013
Battery-powered e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine through a vaporized mist rather than a lit cigarette, are gaining popularity among middle school and high school students, according to a new national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey showed that one in 10 high school students said they had tried the devices within the last year, which was double the number who said they had tried them in 2011. The New York Times has more:
In total, 1.8 million middle and high school students said they had tried e-cigarettes in 2012.
“This is really taking off among kids,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the C.D.C.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine that is vaporized to form an aerosol mist. Producers promote them as a healthy alternative to smoking, but researchers say their health effects are not yet clear, though most acknowledge that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration does not yet regulate them, though analysts expect that the agency will start soon.
Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, which represents 28,000 stores, said the study “raises too many unanswered questions,” for the data to be used for policy making. It was unclear, for example, whether students who tried e-cigarettes were using them regularly or only once. He pointed out that selling them to minors is now illegal in many states.
One of the biggest concerns among health officials is the potential for e-cigarettes to become a path to smoking among young people who otherwise would not have experimented. The survey found that most students who had tried e-cigarettes had also smoked cigarettes.
But one in five middle school students who said they had tried e-cigarettes reported never having smoked a conventional cigarette, raising fears that e-cigarettes, at least for some, could become a gateway. Among high school students, 7 percent who had tried an e-cigarette said they had never smoked a traditional cigarette.
Dr. Frieden said that the adolescent brain is more susceptible to nicotine, and that the trend of rising use could hook young people who might then move into more harmful products like conventional cigarettes.
Image: E-cigarette, via Shutterstock
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Friday, October 19th, 2012
An 11-year-old California boy has been told he needs to transfer to a different public middle school because he carries the gene for–but does not have–the genetic disease cystic fibrosis. From MSNBC.com:
Colman Chadam, was told last week that he’d have to transfer from Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto, Calif., to a school three miles away because he posed a risk to another student at school who does have the disease, according to TODAY.
“I was sad but at the same time I was mad because I understood that I hadn’t done anything wrong,” Colman told TODAY. He added: “It feels like I’m being bullied in a way that is not right.”
An inherited condition, cystic fibrosis causes the body to create a thick mucus that clogs the lungs and can lead to life-threatening lung infections. About 30,000 American adults and children have the disease and patients have an average life expectancy in the late 30s.
While it is not contagious, doctors say people with cystic fibrosis can pose a danger to each other through bacterial cross-contamination if they are in close contact.
“In general, we would prefer that there not be more than one cystic fibrosis patient in a school,” Dr. Thomas Keens, the head of the cystic fibrosis center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, told TODAY.
The district’s assistant superintendent, Charles Young, told NBC News that officials relied on medical authorities who said “a literal physical distance must be maintained” between patients and that the “zero risk option” was to transfer Colman.
Colman’s parents are homeschooling him while they await a decision on the school situation. They emphasized to the media and to school officials that their son has never had a clinical diagnosis of cystic fibrosis.
Image: School bus, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
Brianna Moore, a 6th grade honor student at a Delaware middle school, was allowed to return to school today after being suspended because she had dyed her hair pink. USA Today reports:
The Christina School District had barred Brianna Moore from classes at Shue-Medill Middle School near Newark last week because, officials said, her hair violated the school’s rules against unnatural and “excessive” colors.
School policy, according to its website, allows only “natural color, brown, blond, black, natural red/auburn.”
The change of heart was noted in an e-mail from the attorney for the school district to the ACLU of Delaware, which had taken up the case.
“We’re on our way back to school now,” said her father, Kevin Moore. “That was our whole point.”
Moore said he had allowed his daughter to dye her hair pink as an incentive for improving her grades, which she did.
Image: Pink hair dryer, via Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
A lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Minnesota has sparked a debate over whether schools can demand to know a child’s Facebook password to investigate allegations of bullying or inappropriate language. MSNBC.com reports on the case, which involves a 12-year-old middle school girl who has not been named in the lawsuit:
According to the ACLU’s version of events, the girl had moved and entered a new school as a 6th-grade student in the fall of 2010. In early 2011, she felt targeted by a school monitor and posted an update to her friends-only Facebook wall saying she “hated” the monitor because “she was mean to me,” using her own computer and while off campus.
Soon after, she was called into the principal’s office — he had obtained a screen shot of the post — and given detention.
The student subsequently posted another update to her page related to the incident: “I want to know who the f%$# told on me,” the complaint says. Again, she was called to the principal’s office, and this time was suspended for “insubordination” and banned from a class ski trip.
In March, the student had a second run-in with school authorities. The parent of another student had complained that the girl was talking about sex with that student. The 12-year-old was called out of class by a school counselor and eventually brought into a room with several school officials and the sheriff’s deputy, where the password demands began.
The ACLU claims that the school never asked the girl’s parents for permission to examine her private Facebook space. The school district doesn’t dispute that it obtained the girl’s password, but does say it had parental permission.
Image: Keyboard, via Shutterstock.
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Monday, February 13th, 2012
Researchers say that when parents are highly controlling and expect kids to follow their rules without question, children are more likely to be disrespectful and delinquent.
One of the main findings of this study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Adolescence, is that kids who trust their parents and see them as legitimate authority figures are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior. Researchers also found that a child’s perception of her parents’ authority depends on the parenting style Mom and Dad use.
The study outlined three main parenting styles:
Authoritative parents are demanding and controlling, but also receptive to their children’s needs. These parents aim to establish two-way communication with their kids to explain why they’ve established rules and to hear their children’s opinions about those rules.
Authoritarian parents are demanding and highly controlling. They don’t explain their reasons for setting rules, and are not open to hearing their kid’s opinions about the rules. These parents have a “my way or the highway” approach, and expect rules to be followed without question.
Permissive parents are not demanding or controlling. These parents are attentive to their children’s needs, but set few boundaries, and any rules they make are rarely enforced.
The researchers analyzed survey responses from about 600 middle- and high-school students and found that an authoritarian parenting style led kids to lack respect for their parents’ authority. These kids were more likely than others in the study to engage in delinquent behaviors such as theft or underage drinking. The authoritative style was the most successful; kids were more likely to listen to their parents, and were less likely to be delinquent. Interestingly, the children of permissive parents had less respect for their parents, but were not more or less likely to be delinquent.
Readers, do these findings surprise you? How would you describe your parenting style?
Image: Daughter and mom via Shutterstock.
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