KENTON COUNTY, Ky. — The rise of vaping related illnesses across the country has put one Tri-State school district on notice, so the Northern Kentucky Chamber is bringing together a panel of medical experts to discuss the epidemic.
"It's a near-fatal mistake that [students] can make," Jesse Dykes, spokeswoman for the Kenton County School District, said. "It can look like a flash key. It doesn't smell, so sometimes this can be done right in the hallways, or your classrooms..."
E-cigarettes, or vapes, look like flash drives or USB sticks, but are designed to deliver nicotine in a similar way to traditional cigarettes.
"Northern Kentucky has a smoking problem," Brent Cooper, president & CEO of the NKY Chamber, said. "23% of NKY adults smoke and this does not include the newest epidemic facing the youth of our region: vaping." Data from the U.S. Surgeon General says e-cigarette usage among high school students exceeds adult usage.
And Kenton County schools aren't the only local schools who have run into the issue of students vaping. In 2018, Cincinnati Public Schools had 41 instances of students vaping and Loveland High School alone had 66.
"When you are adding a developing brain with nicotine, the chemical that can become addictive, it can cause some altered brain growth and even some things we don't understand," Dr. Steve Faegins said. "Potential for life-long lung injury and permanent lung damage from sucking on something that you don't need anyway."
The panel starts Monday at 4 p.m. in the St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center. Tickets are $30 for NKY Chamber members, $40 for future members and $25 for NKY Passport holders. Click here to purchase tickets online.