As health officials race to pinpoint what's causing a string of serious illnesses in e-cigarette users, some North Texas schools are trying to prevent kids from ever picking up the habit.
In Frisco, the district is launching an e-cigarette prevention program aimed at both parents and students.
Wednesday night, the district hosted a program called "Catch My Breath" at the Frisco ISD administration building. It included speakers from Catch My Breath, the school district and the Frisco Police Department.
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"A lot of times you think, surely not my kid, or surely not my kid's friends. So, we need to make sure that they just know it's out there, they know what to look for and they know how to talk to their child about it," said Erin Miller, Frisco ISD's Chief Student Services Officer.
"Vaping is one of those epidemics that it knows no bounds, socioeconomic, racial, whatever, geography. It is everywhere," said Patricia Stepaniuk, program coordinator for CATCH My Breath youth e-cigarette prevention program.
The education includes information about prevention, ways to help a child stop vaping if they've already started and how to detect whether a child is vaping.
Some e-cigarette devices resemble USB drives or other innocuous items.
"There are hoodies where the string on the hoodie is something you can put your mouth on and blow into it so you can't see the vapor coming out," said Erin Miller, Frisco ISD's Chief Student Services Officer. "There are products out there that are certainly not helping our cause."
Melinda Samberson, a mother of three and the community partners chair for the Frisco ISD Council of PTAs, said the time is right for the district to tackle the issue.
"They are exposed," Samberson said. "They are asked if they want a hit, those kinds of things, all the time. It's just very prevalent."
"We feel like it's a great time to educate our families," Samberson said.
Starting in October, students will also learn about vaping prevention in the classroom. Programs for high school and middle school students begin this fall. Another lesson aimed at younger students begins in the spring for fifth graders.
Frisco police said the wrote 79 court referrals for vaping in 2017. So far in 2019, the number has more than doubled to 162.