TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas school district is hitting the front lines to confront an epidemic facing young people today.
Bobby Brasher, Director of Security and Dean of Students for The Brook Hill School says it’s the new health hazard for our young adults and there’s so much misinformation out there about vaping.”
According to the 2019 Youth Tobacco Survey, five million middle and high school students say they vaped in the last month.
“It is a real threat to our young people,” explains Brasher.
That’s why school leaders at the The Brook Hill School like Brasher, decided to bring in an expert.
“We wanted to make sure we were out in front of it on informing them and giving them all the information that we could to be proactive,” adds Brasher.
This week, Doctor Andrew Bowers, a Family Physician at UT Health East Texas in Bullard, is sharing his expertise with high school students about the dangers of vaping.
“It's important to talk about because the numbers and stats suggest that it's a big issue and I can only imagine it will continue to increase just because of the flavoring options,” explains Dr. Bowers.
Doctor Bowers says because of it’s recent growth in popularity, there is not much research about the long-term effects of vaping.
“It was marketed as being a safe alternative and when in reality it seems that it's not. The aerosol itself is harmful, it contains heavy metals, carcinogens,” adds Dr. Bowers.
Brook Hill High School Juniors Morgan Maddox and Chandler Fletcher say they don't vape, but admit they see it everywhere.
“It’s spreading throughout high schoolers’ and just having your phone you’ll just see it everywhere,” explains Maddox.
“I think this is a problem in our society right now. I think for sure that people are vaping, people are doing this,” says Fletcher.
School leaders and health professionals alike are hoping these new efforts will get a handle on this troubling trend.
“The reality is if we can just reach one it would've been worth it,” explains Brasher.
“Like I tell all my patients, I’m here to work with you, treat you as an adult, give you sound medical advice, and what you do with that is certainly up to you,” says Dr. Bowers.
The CDC released its latest numbers on vaping just a couple days ago.
It reports 47 deaths and nearly 2,300 cases of vaping-related illnesses.
The Brook Hill School tells us it’s looking to expand its vaping education to junior high students in the future.