I recently learned that some of our students are using something called a hookah pen and thought it might be beneficial to share some information with our readers. A hookah pen is the latest in the electronic cigarette world, but it is different from e-pens because most of them do not have nicotine (although some do). Instead the focus is on intense flavors and popular colors. The pen itself is about the size of a standard pen and comes with an activation button that, when pressed, gives you a huge amount of vapor and flavor. The flavors include coffee, peppermint, berry, banana, to name a few. Each pen is good for 300-500 puffs. One puff is the equivalent of a one second drag on a cigarette. The cost ranges from approximately $6.00 to $15.00 and are available in gas stations and liquor stores and 7-11s. I learned about these pens when our principal shared that he had received several phone calls from parents whose students said kids were using these pens in class. I was appalled; how could that be? I’m in the room; we’re working together; discussing, writing, testing. Then I saw some pictures and got over myself and my indignation. They look just like pens! (Hence, their name). They are the same size, the same shape, the same design. It would be relatively easy for any one of the students to take a quick “drag” from their pen while I was taking attendance or helping another student, or walking around the room. I’m not making excuses here; I’m just emphasizing that even the most vigilant amongst us could miss a kid’s using one of these. While they are perfectly legal, you do currently have to be 18 to purchase one. One of my colleagues who lives in Wenatchee and has kids in the schools there, says that it’s popular there as well. I don’t know enough about this to offer an expert opinion, but I’m thinking that the habit probably isn’t a good one, most of the kids using them are under the legal age to purchase them, and the possibilities of the vapor containing more than berry flavors should be a concern to us all. So, please, find out all you can about hookah and e-pens, check your kids’ backpack and purses, and have a conversation about addictions.