Tanner News

Haralson County Schools, Tanner Hosts Vaping Awareness Seminar

Hundreds of middle and high school students were empowered to use their voices to take on big tobacco at an anti-vaping seminar at the Haralson County High School Performing Arts Center in Tallapoosa on Tuesday.

Haralson County Schools, along with Healthy Haralson, a committee of Tanner Health System’s Get Healthy, Live Well Coalition, hosted a schoolwide Vaping Awareness Seminar.

“Most of what we know about nicotine addiction in teens, we know from cigarettes,” said Elena Schulenburg, career coordinator K-12 at Haralson County Schools. “But experts say the technology and chemistry of vaping might pose an entirely different threat. It turns out that e-cigarette use by kids doesn’t look the same at all.”

Schulenburg noted how nicotine is being delivered and how much matters.

“Despite the early fanfare that e-cigarettes might offer a less harmful alternative to adult smokers, experts say youth are being hit hard by a combination of how vapes deliver nicotine, how kids’ brains are wired and developing, and the gadget’s unique appeal to kids,” she said. “We are hoping these seminars help educate the community to be more aware of the health risks and the financial burden these habits can cost.”

During the seminar, Phyllis Head, community outreach coordinator at Get Healthy, Live Well, spoke to students about the negative health effects of vaping.

As of Oct. 29, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced there were 1,888 cases of lung injury associated with e-cigarette use reported in 49 states (all except Alaska), the District of Columbia and one U.S. territory.

Thirty-seven deaths have been confirmed in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Three of those deaths were in Georgia.

Head also discussed how tobacco companies and vaping manufacturers target youth through marketing and promotion.

“Millions of advertising dollars have been spent to persuade teenagers to spend their money on e-cigarettes and vaping products,” Head said. “We want to empower them to use their voices to tell the tobacco industry that they won’t be wasting their money on a product that can harm them.”

The seminar also marked the launch of Get Healthy, Live Well’s anti-vaping social media campaign. Haralson County teens are encouraged to post photos on Instagram using #NotYourNextGeneration.

“We want tobacco companies to realize this generation is not falling for the false advertising and exaggerated claims that vaping is cool,” Head said.

She hopes that the seminar resonated with students and will encourage parents to educate themselves about the effects of vaping, so they can protect their kids.

For more information about Haralson County Schools, visit haralson.k12.ga.us. For more information about Healthy Haralson, visit GetHealthyHaralson.org.