Health, school officials team up to stop teen vaping
COLUMBIA - Columbia officials are fighting back against the trend of vaping among teenagers.
Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services received a $10,000 grant from Boone County Children Services.
Boone County Public Health will team up with Columbia Public Schools for "Stand Up for Your Own Health," a campaign to educate teenagers about the effects of vaping.
"I think it's probably still a lot they don't know about it because it's so new," Marcia Trigg, a parent, said about e-cigarettes.
CPS spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said the "U Matter" campaign and the health curriculum also involve discussions about e-cigarettes.
"We really want to educate our students that it is equally as harmful as the actual use of tobacco," Baumstark said.
Baumstark said the school will put up educational flyers and posters throughout their schools for students' reference. The spokesman for Boone County Public Health said it will also be promoting the campaign on radio and social media ads.
"I think the schools is a good route to go," Trigg said.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control reported 380 cases of vaping-related illnesses. Among those, two of those infected are Missouri residents, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
"I think a lot of kids get into it not having any idea there could be problems," Trigg said.
Brian Fetting, an adult who vapes, said vaping helped get him off cigarettes, but he thinks "there needs to be more research." He said if there were to be a general ban on vaping, it should be for people 21 and under.
Baumstark said the district wanted to capitalize on the recent attention over the lung illnesses.
State law says purchase, possession or sale to anyone under 18 is prohibited. Within the past five years, Columbia has prohibited tobacco use by anyone under 21 and required retailers to obtain a license to sell vapor products.
CPS does not have a set date on when it will begin promoting their campaign. Officials are hoping to start within the next few weeks.