Red Oak ISD, like many schools across the country, has seen an increase in vaping incidents on campus. In an effort to curb the appeal, the district will host a "Vaping: Be In The Know" regional event to educate individuals on both recognizing vapes and on the hazards and consequences of vaping.
Medical and legal experts will be in attendance to share information. The event will also include a panel discussion and a Q&A session for parents, staff, students, and the community.
Parents, students, staff, concerned citizens from Red Oak and all surrounding communities are invited to attend. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Red Oak High School Performing Arts Center, 220 South SH342 in Red Oak.
"This event is paramount for families to understand the dangers of vaping," Donna Knight, Red Oak ISD Community and Family Services Coordinator and event planner, said. "While we deal with students at the campuses, the community needs to know the hazards of vaping and the impact on the community."
Numerous deaths have been reported across the country as a result of vaping. Statistics show a drastic rise in the use of vapes or e-cigarettes in individuals under age 25, and recent Center for Disease Control data shows 1 in 4 high school students have vaped.
"Under the guise of 'healthier' because there isn't smoke, most water-based vapes still contain nicotine which is addictive or more dangerous chemical or narcotic 'pods' which are compromising the health of our youth," Knight said.
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The event includes guest speaker Dr. Devika Radhika Rao, a pediatric pulmonologist at Children's Health in Dallas who specializes in pulmonology and the damage caused by vaping, particularly in teens. Dr. Rao is also an assistant professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She will discuss the medical consequences smoking and vaping on developing lungs, respiratory muscles, and the airway.
There are also legal consequences for vaping, both in school and out of school, based on the individual's age and the contents of a vape or pod. Judge Cindy Ermatinger, the 443rd Judicial Court Judge in Ellis County, will discuss the legal ramifications for illegal possession of vapes. Ermatinger previously served as an assistant district attorney in Dallas County and Ellis County, specializing in juvenile cases.
Red Oak ISD Administration and the ROISD Police Department will discuss campus-based consequences as well.
The presentation is sponsored by the REACH Council, a nonprofit charity which aims to "support safe and healthy choices vital to the well-being of our youth, families and community" and Red Oak ISD.