October 3, 2019

As one tool to help students who want to stop vaping,

Rio Americano has installed two "Vape Drop" collection boxes on in the library and one in the counseling office.

Students who want to voluntarily dispose of vaping devices, dab pens, JUULs, pills, drugs, e-liquids, mods, cartridges and pods can place them in a provided baggie and put them in the secure collection boxes...with no questions asked.

Collected items will be transported to a hazardous waste collection facility or used for advocacy purposes during this vaping epidemic.

If students need help quitting e-cigarettes, text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for a free quitting service.

September 28, 2019

09-25-19 Sac Bee article - Stop vaping immediately.pdf
Information About the Vaping Epidemic.pdf

August 19, 2019

Dear Rio Families,

State and federal health officials are investigating dozens of cases of mystery lung illnesses related to vaping in young people all across the country. The states include California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Here is the article to learn more:

On campus at Rio Americano, students have begun seeing "No Smoking, No Vaping, No Marijuana" signs in classrooms and educational posters in and around the bathrooms. They are learning that youth who vape are 4x more likely to start smoking cigarettes than teens who don't vape. They are learning that e-cigarettes produce an aerosol that has nicotine, toxins, and harmful chemicals known to cause cancer.

And they are learning that there is free help available if they are addicted and want to quit. School counselors have resources and there is a great website here: Students can learn tips and strategies about how to quit, how to deal with vape cravings and nicotine withdrawal, and how to handle the social aspects of vaping.

The first Anti-Vaping Alliance meeting of the year will be held in the library on Thursday, August 29 at 7 p.m. Students and families are encouraged to attend. If you have questions ahead of time, please e-mail vice principal Rob Kerr at, counselor Meghan Wilson at or parent Anne Del Core at

August 11, 2019

Dear Rio Families,

Attached to your student's schedule this week was a letter with information about the nationwide vaping epidemic and Rio's response to it. It included a photograph of some of the vaping devices that were confiscated at Rio last year. That photo is attached here if you didn't see it. We believe it is important for everyone to be informed about the issue...for student safety and school safety.

Here are ten things to know about vaping from the California Department of Public Health:

1. U.S. Surgeon General named vaping a youth epidemic.

2. E-cig usage by high school students rose 78% between 2017 and 2018. That’s close to double the kids exposed to nicotine in a single year.

3. Nicotine is one of the most toxic of all poisons.

4. Nicotine rewires teens’ developing brains.

5. Nicotine can escalate anxiety, mood swings and learning difficulties.

6. Teens are at a higher risk of addiction than adults.

7. Nicotine use in adolescence makes it easier to develop addiction to other drugs.

8. None of Juul’s pods are without nicotine, but 5 out of 8 young Juulers were not aware of that.

9. A single Juul pod can contain the nicotine of a pack of cigarettes and may deliver nicotine to the brain 2.7 times faster than other e-cigs.

10. Changes to the brain from nicotine can be permanent.

Below are some additional resources to learn about vaping prevention.

Flavors Hook Kids is a website with a downloadable guide full of practical information on what to do about vaping. It has information that is useful to teens, and the adults in their lives.

Still Blowing Smoke is a website that focuses on health impacts of vaping, as well as the link between e-cigarettes and the tobacco industry.

We hope you will join in on the effort to address this teen epidemic. Please plan to attend the first Anti-Vaping Alliance meeting on Thursday, August 29th in the Rio library. We will have the confiscated vaping devices for you to see and smell, and we will learn about what the school is doing to support student health and safety. If you or your student would like to be involved in the Alliance, please e-mail vice principal Rob Kerr at, counselor Meghan Wilson at or parent Anne Del Core at

July 27, 2019

Dear Rio Community,

As we prepare to welcome students back to campus in August, we also are preparing to address the vaping epidemic that has hit our community. We hope you will share some of the educational materials below and remind students that all San Juan Unified schools are smoke-free/vape-free campuses.

You may have seen stories in the news this week about how the FDA has warned us of the youth e-cigarette epidemic and how "big tobacco" and companies like Juul have targeted our young people with sleek advertising, fruity- and candy-flavored tobacco and extremely high nicotine levels in Juul pods. Last year Rio disciplined nearly 100 students for vaping-related issues. Instruction was interrupted many times as well due to fire alarms being set off by students vaping the the bathrooms.

Because we see a major need to educate our students about the dangers of nicotine and marijuana to the developing brain...and about the potential for long-term adverse health effects, we have created an Anti-Vaping Alliance with administrators, counselors, parents, healthcare professionals and students involved. We are working on developing messaging campaigns, on-campus signage, curriculum additions, community events, after-school activities and alternatives to suspension. If you or your student would like to be involved, please e-mail vice principal Rob Kerr at, counselor Meghan Wilson at or parent Anne Del Core at

Learn more about e-cigarettes, nicotine and dangers for teens:

CDC Quick Facts on Risks of E-cigarettes for Teens

Know the Risks - E-cigarettes and Young People

CNN - Eight Teens/Lung Damage/Vaping

YouTube Video - Flavored Tobacco

Look for weekly messages here and please reach out if you want to be involved. This is an "all-hands-on-deck" situation to protect the health of our students and provide a safe learning environment in our school.