We've been hearing a lot about vaping lately, especially because Colorado youth are vaping nicotine at twice the national average and at the highest rate of 37 states surveyed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some people say vaping is a "healthy" alternative to smoking, but the facts just don't support that, especially when it comes to youth use... Tobacco Free CO helps us uncover the truth about teen vaping.
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Harry Potter comes to the YMCA of the Rockies for Spring Break!

[ Monday, March 18, 2019 | 0 comments ]
For families looking for last-minute Spring Break staycations, YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park offers an affordable, easy getaway with special Harry Potter-themed activities designed for all ages.

Families enjoy an unplugged experience in rustic private cabins or hotel-style lodge rooms, and no meal planning for mom or dad with three meals a day served buffet-style in the dining hall. In addition to ongoing activities such as rollerskating, indoor rock climbing, archery lessons, swimming, arts & crafts, and more, exciting Harry Potter activities will be offered each day throughout the month, including:

-- Make-your-own potion class
-- Fun and creative science experiments
-- Games of Quidditch
-- Wand-making classes
-- An "Escape from Azkaban: Harry Potter family-friendly escape room"

WHAT:  Spring Break at YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center - “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

WHEN: Now through April 11, 2019

COST: Lodge rooms start at $84, Cabins start at $109. Spring Break activities are included in lodging fees. Day passes available for $25/day.

RESERVATIONS: Available online at https://ymcarockies.org or call 888-613-9622. Read the full story »
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Why exactly is vaping unhealthy for teens?

[ Tuesday, March 12, 2019 | 0 comments ]
We've been hearing a lot about vaping lately, especially because, as we previously notedColorado youth are vaping nicotine at twice the national average and at the highest rate of 37 states surveyed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some people say vaping is a "healthy" alternative to smoking, but the facts just don't support that, especially when it comes to youth use:
It can be tough to tell if our kids are vaping - TobaccoFreeCO says, "Not only do manufacturers make discreet devices that resemble flash drives, highlighters and more, but they also do not have the same strong odor that is often a giveaway for parents and teachers. Vaping is so discreet, in fact, that students have been known to vape during class." We have to talk to them. It can be hard, but we're not alone.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has a suite of materials to help parents and askable adults understand the risks of vaping and prepare us to have informed conversations with our teens and pre-teens about it. I talked to a few of the teens in my life to see what they knew and thought about vaping, and found our conversation enlightening.

The materials are available on the new Tobacco Free Colorado website at TobaccoFreeCO.org/know-the-facts/, and include:

Read the full story »
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Can you prevent cervical cancer?

[ Wednesday, January 30, 2019 | 0 comments ]
Nearly 13,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but the disease is preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening.

Learn more from Daniel Marks, DO, Consultants in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center.

Read the full story »
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Neighborhood Spotlight: Just Dance

[ Thursday, January 17, 2019 | 0 comments ]
Just Dance was born from a dream. Stapleton women came together to support each other in the idea to create a place where moms can let go, break free, and have fun through dance fitness!

They offer a variety of adult classes including Hip Hop, Cardio Dance Jam, Zumba, Pound, Afro Salsa Fusion, and Beginner Adult Ballet. They are a no-judgment zone, and a dance background is not necessary for their classes. There are multiple ways to modify moves for lower or higher impact, and their instructors will provide those options in each class! Check out their class schedule for more information.

They also offer classes for children ages 2-10. They have parent/child creative movement (2-5 yrs), Creative Dance drop-off classes (3-5 yrs), and Character Dance drop-off class (6-10 years). The drop-off classes are taught by Diane Paige, who is a Ballet instructor from the Colorado Ballet Academy.

Just Dance is currently located at the Stanley Marketplace inside another amazing Stapleton business - Neighborhood Music - in the dance studio. They opened their doors January 13 and are ready to greet you!

The first class is free, so why not give it a try and support a new Stapleton business!

Visit justdancedenver.com for more information and click "First Class Free" to get started.

You can also find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/justdancestapleton/.

Welcome to the neighborhood! Read the full story »
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What do our kids know and think about vaping?

Image courtesy of the Denver Post
We all know tobacco is unhealthy, especially for kids, but tobacco use - especially vaping - by our youth in Colorado has become an epidemic. Vaping is particularly dangerous for youth because nicotine damages the developing brain and can cause long-term damage. Colorado youth are vaping nicotine at twice the national average and at the highest rate of 37 states surveyed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, most recently, this last September the FDA declared vaping as an epidemic across the United States.

In addition to nicotine, vape e-juice may contain chemicals that cause cancer and can lead to health problems including wheezing, coughing, sinus infections, nosebleeds, shortness of breath, and asthma. What scares me the most is that young people who take up vaping are more than four times more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes a year later. This is not the future I want for my kids.

I wanted to dig deeper and find out what some local kids actually know and think about vaping, so I sat down with two of my son's friends to hear their thoughts. Both are in 7th grade and 12 years old, and one attends a public school and one a private school in Denver.

I was impressed with both boys but didn't get the impression that their experience is typical. Both said they know vaping is bad for you. "I mean, they say it’s, like, worse than smoking, except it’s really not and they’re both bad." They said some of the 8th graders at their schools were vaping and a few 7th graders, but that none did it at school or in class, a problem caused by the fact that the JUUL and other vaping products look like USB drives (there are tons of recent news stories about this as it's become a huge problem).

When asked if vaping appealed to them or if they thought it was interesting, both boys emphatically said, "No, not at all." If they saw my son or another friend vaping they would ask why he was doing that - "Why are you doing that bad decision [sic]?" (Exactly the kind of friends I want for my son. ❤)

While they've been around older teens vaping at public events (a ski competition was mentioned), they know their school experiences may not be typical. Both attend smaller schools and thought it would be different at a larger middle school with more students, and especially in a public school with fewer "restrictions" where administrators "aren't as harsh."

The boys were appalled at the fact that vaping devices are candy flavored and being made and marketed in such a way that they're attractive to kids. One said, "I think it’s dumb. ‘Cause, they’re like, kind of making kids want to get them. Like the cotton candy and Jolly Rancher flavors – kids have those candies all the time." I agree. Totally dumb.

It's time to say enough.

Back in September, we at Stapleton Moms put together a piece on "Vaping and kids:  What Parents need to know" that has tons of resources and information from Tobacco Free Colorado, including a great tip sheet for parents and caregivers when talking to our youth about vaping and what to do if you find out your child is vaping.

While 87% of Colorado youth think smoking is risky, only 50% think vaping is risky. More than half say it's easy to get regular or e-cigarettes.

Together we can help reverse this trend and keep our kids healthy and safe.

Learn more at TobaccoFreeCO.org.

This post is in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, but opinions are mine. Read the full story »