Monday, December 17, 2018

Happy Holidays!

E-Cigarettes and Vaping: Risky Business

E-Cigarettes and Vaping: Risky Business
While use of alcohol and tobacco products has decreased, e-cigarettes and vaping have increased in popularity as a way of “smoking” that American youth often perceive as harmless. One in three high school seniors have reported using a vape or e-cigarette in the past year in the annual poll of 45,000 students from 380 public and private secondary schools conducted by the University of Michigan for the 2018 Monitoring the Future Survey.
E-cigarettes range in size, flavor, and ingredients. Traditional e-cigarettes have a distinct cigarette taste. Vapes are small, refillable devices that heat flavored liquid into a vapor or mist. Devices used for vaping can be larger like a refillable lighter or fountain pen, or smaller and more discreet like a thumb drive. Most vape juices do not contain nicotine, but they can contain substances like THC, the chemical found in marijuana.  

Many types of substances can be put into a JUUL or e-cigarette. E-juice may contain different combinations and levels of nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin, water and various flavorings. While tobacco in e-cigarettes may not expose users to the same level of chemicals found in regular cigarettes, there are still many potentially cancer-causing chemicals in e-juice flavoring and tiny particles that can reach deep into the lungs. Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes. Some teen vapers report having bleeding gums and are developing what is now known as a “vaper’s cough.” Long-term health effects from frequent use of these types of chemicals are not yet known.
What is known is that e-cigarette and vape manufacturers specifically target youth with a wide variety of sugary vape liquids that include fruity, candy, and breakfast cereal flavors. Varieties named Skittles and Honey Nut Cereal make vaping appealing to young people and help create the illusion that the flavored substances used in vapes are less harmful - a fact confirmed in the Monitoring the Future Survey, which reported that children and teens believe that what they are vaping is “just flavoring.”
This is where the danger comes in. Because e-cigarettes, vapes, and the chemicals in flavorings used in them have not yet been widely studied, there are still many unanswered questions about the potential effects on the heart, lungs and immune system. Further research is needed to identify potential hazards associated with inhaling flavoring agents. Parents need to talk to their teens about the facts to let them know that the safest, healthiest choice is not to start using at all!

UthMpact Members Assist as Santa’s Elves

UthMpact Members Assist as Santa’s Elves

UthMpact members, Peyton Santo and Senaida Avalos, from Ft. Meade High School assisted in a Santa’s Workshop Holiday event on Saturday, December 8th, at Crystal Lake Elementary School, and helped children make cute reindeer from candy canes. InnerAct Alliance and UthMpact were happy to be part of the free family event presented by Family Fundamentals and United Way Success By Six. In addition to making candy cane reindeer, children enjoyed photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Holiday story time, and kids under 6 received a free story book from Santa!

“Own the Upside…Avoid the Downside” Trailer Available to Local Groups & Organizations

Invite the “Own the Upside…Avoid the Downside” 
Trailer to Visit Your Organization!

We are proud to introduce an exciting new resource to educate parents of teens in our community, offered in partnership with the Polk County Sheriff’s Foundation. The “Own the Upside…Avoid the Downside” trailer is a mobile, interactive exhibit that houses a replica of a teens’ bedroom that parents can walk through to learn how to recognize clues signaling potential involvement in drugs and risky behaviors visible in plain sight or easily concealed in everyday items and seemingly ordinary belongings in the room.

Civic groups and organizations can support efforts to encourage healthy behaviors and reduce substance abuse by inviting an Own The Upside representative to visit with the “Own the Upside…Avoid the Downside” trailer and share an informative presentation. 

Call (863) 802-0777 or visit the OTUS web site at to make arrangements for a presentation or for additional information.

2018 Project Homecoming

2018 Project Homecoming

UthMpact hosted its 5th season of Project Homecoming to provide formal wear to teens in need. Student Shopping Days were held on Saturdays in September and October at the Project Prom store in Lakeland Square Mall. Over 150 students signed Project Hoco Pledges to celebrate substance-free and received their dresses and suits to wear to Homecoming for FREE!  

Community members are asked to please continue supporting this effort by donating gently used dresses, shoes, men’s suits, ties, and other accessories. Formal wear donations may be dropped off year-round at the InnerAct Alliance office weekdays from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Most needed are larger-size dresses and smaller-size men’s attire. UthMpact’s goal is promote a fun and safe Homecoming night. 

Fall 2018 DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Event Nets 1,164 lbs. of Medication

Fall 2018 DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back
 Event Nets 1,164 lbs. of Medication

StandUP Polk and local law enforcement agencies were proud to participate in the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back event on October 27, 2018 for citizens to turn in expired or unwanted human and pet medication.

An estimated 1,164 pounds of recovered pharmaceuticals were collected and safely disposed of via incineration. The 9 drop-off sites that participated in the Fall Medication Take Back included Auburndale Police Department, Bartow Police Department, Davenport Police Department, Haines City Police Department, Lake Alfred Police Department, Lake Hamilton Police Department, Lake Wales Police Department, Lakeland Police Department, and Winter Haven Police Department.

The latest event brings the total for collections held in Polk County to 16,717 pounds of recovered pharmaceuticals dating back to 2010. All medications were safely disposed of via incineration. 

StandUP Polk is a community coalition working together to prevent harm and promote health through education, public awareness, and advocacy including strategies to prevent youth substance abuse. For more information, please contact StandUP Polk at (863) 802-0777.