VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Concerns regarding the dangers of e-cigarettes have been making their way to the forefront of health news all over the country.
Health officials in several states have even reported cases of lung disease possibly linked to vaping.
Now, Vigo County School Corporation officials are taking action to discourage vaping among students.
Last year the school corporation released a survey to middle and high school students asking them about their vaping or e-cigarette habits.
24.4% of 12th graders and 10% of eighth graders reported to having vaped in the past month at the time the survey was taken.
Wednesday morning officials released a plan that would put e-cigarette education above the previous form of punishment.
“Catch my Breath” a once a week for four weeks in school program will now take the place of the former punishment, three days of in school suspension, for first time tobacco/vape policy offenders.
“They are actually going to be able to participate in a program where they are going to actually understand the negative side effects of Juuling of vaping,” said Terre Haute North Vigo High School Dean of Students Chris Barrett. “Of putting these harmful substances in their body.”
Diacetyl being the flavorant linked to the phenomenon Popcorn Lung, or Bronchiolitus Obliterans.
“Bronchiolitus Obliterans is actually like a break down of those lower airways so the oxygen can no longer go from the airways to the blood,” explained Jimmy McKanna, Respiratory Therapy Manager at Union Hospital.
E-cigarettes impact more than just lungs, the nicotine affects brain development which continues until age 25.
“Nicotine can harm pieces of the brain that control impulse control as well as the mood,” said Anastasia Godsey, Director of Child and Adolescent Services at Hamilton Center. “So we want to make sure we that we’re getting information out there to the children and adolescents so that they can make an informed decision.”
Teachers have already coordinated designated course time for the program which will be offered once to one time offenders in high school and twice to middle school offenders on a need basis.
If a student is caught on school property with an e-cigarette, the dean of their school must first secure permission from their guardian before the student can begin the program.