School District of Lee County to hold vaping ‘town hall’ on Facebook

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Fewer kids smoke cigarettes in Lee County, but experts said they are turning to a dangerous alternative.

Dianne Allen, a grandmother who lives in Lee County, raised several children and has seen the headlines about the deadly vaping epidemic in the United States.

“I just think it’s lack of knowledge from the parents,” Allen said. “Those oils are going into your lungs, throat and lungs.”

That includes kids in middle and high schools.

Kathy Wynne is a prevention specialist with the School District of Lee County. She works with the district to teach students and parents about the dangers of vaping because of nicotine addiction.

“Teens get addicted easier,” Wynne said, “because their brains are not fully developed.”

According to the 2018 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, 34.4% of Lee County middle and high school students report having tried vaping.

Sara Thompson, who also works as a prevention specialist with the district, said the statistic sickens her.

“So many young people who have the potential for a wonderful future,” Thompson said, “possibly shortening their lives.”

Thompson works with Wynne to put together a vaping town hall on the district’s Facebook page. It starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday and will remain on the School District of Lee County’s Facebook page.

They hope to impede the rise of vaping usage, as in the last 30 days, it was 10 times the rate of those who used regular cigarettes.

“We’re lab rats,” Wynne said, “to find out what we’re putting into our lungs.”

There is a lot that we need to learn about the consequences of a trend that is spreading like wildfire. Allen hopes the town hall will spread accurate, important information just as fast.

“I think it’s great,” Allen said.

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