By Ryan Ostry
Staff Reporter 

Director discusses risks of e-cigs, vaping, marijuana

Downers Grove Library gets educational experience on highly discussed topic


Last updated 11/27/2019 at 3:53pm

Jan. 1, 2020 is a big day for the state of Illinois.

The use of recreational marijuana becomes legal and some people are thrilled, some aren't

One of those people who are not thrilled is Aaron Weiner, Director of Addiction Services with Linden Oaks Behavioral Health.

Weiner, who spoke to the Downers Grove Library regarding the negative affects that E-Cigs, Vaping and Marijuana impose, wanted to discuss with parents what they should know about the topics.

"There's a gap that is seen in the medical literature and what is generally talked about in the public with these issues," Weiner said. "There's a lot of information that is misunderstood in the public."

While providing a science-based understanding that can be used when having conversations with young people and young adults, Weiner discussed some facts that he said the public should be aware of.

Weiner overviewed how there is a business context behind addiction, and that is what America is selling by continuing to feed into those who have addictions.

"Someone like the company Big Tobacco is killing more than 480,000 people in this country per year," Weiner said. "Alcohol conglomerates, the top 75 percent of alcohol, comes from the top 10 percent of consumers."

One major societal issue Weiner discussed was the notion that certain Drugs, such as Vaping, are not harmful to use.

As perceived risk of the Drugs go down, the use goes up, which is what Weiner described as one of the biggest issues that America faces today.

"Nicotine and hospitalization with deaths have been occurring at a unbelievable rate especially these last four months from vaping," Weiner said.

With questions that arose alluding to the Woodstock Festival in 1969 where Marijuana use was prevalent, Weiner said that the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level has rose so much, it can't even be compared.

"Now people are using dabs, waxes, butter and others where the THC is off the charts," Weiner said. "At Woodstock, the average percent of flower was around three to four percent, and now it's 21 percent."

Weiner went on to address one of the other biggest misconceptions about Marijuana, whether it is addictive or not.

He said that it is the second most caused drug to put patients in rehab, and the affects of it, especially smoking before the age of 25, have detrimental affects on someone's brain.

"It's addictive like alcohol where you wont get addicted the first couple times you try it but over a period of time you will get hooked on it," Weiner said. "People who use it everyday, about 25 to 50 percent of them do develop an addiction."

Other myths and misconceptions Weiner went into were the many fallacies that Vaping is less harmful to one's own body than cigarettes or marijuana.

He states that the ingredients that someone will ingest while Vaping are not regulated in any way by the FDA.

By superheating chemicals, those certain chemicals break down which is toxic for the human body.

Weiner also describes that labels aren't accurate on a Vaping pen, and most vape liquid contains Aerosol where there is also formaldehyde, which is embalming fluid.

"People have died from Marijuana use with being dehydrated and an overdose on THC, and more studies and evidence is coming out from the negative affects on Vaping, so unfortunately this is something that has been on the rise and it doesn't seem to be getting better any time soon," Weiner said. "All we can try and do is be educated about it and I want parents and other people to understand that they can do something about it with their kids."


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