“A lot of young people do not understand the dangerous effects,” she said. “It is a way to cope with the extreme anxiety going on right now, and a lot of young people are unsupervised.”
To help educate parents, teachers and especially young people to understand the effects of vaping, the Keller ISD counseling department will host a virtual vaping forum, Weatherall said.
The forum will bring together a panel of experts that will share social, health and legal consequences of vaping and e-cigarettes. A link will be provided to a Google doc where viewers can submit questions to experts on the panel.
“The goal is to talk about the vaping trends that exist right now with our young people,” she said. “A lot of [the trends] have to do with a lack of education for adults in our community.”
In 2018, 3.6 million middle and high school students in the United States used e-cigarettes, according to data supplied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of December, the CDC reported a total of 54 deaths of patients diagnosed with e-cigarette or vaping- associated lung injury, also known as EVALI.
Along with the risk of lung injuries, individuals that use e-cigarettes may have a predisposition to the COVID-19 virus, Weatherall said.
The issue is twofold, she said, with nicotine and e-liquids posing risks to users.
“When we were in school, we were confiscating vapes on a regular basis,” Weatherall said. “It is an epidemic everywhere.”
To participate or view the virtual vaping forum, parents, students and teachers can visit www.kellerisd.net/vapingforum beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14.