Frontenac school hosts open forum with students and doctors to discuss vaping dangers

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FRONTENAC, Mo. – Administrators at Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School say they know that teen vaping is very popular in the St. Louis region despite how dangerous and addictive it can be. On Wednesday, the school hosted a problem-solving discussion with their students and doctors.

While humor can be used to get teens' attention, Wednesday's subject matter was serious. Despite serious sickness, lung disease, and even death, experts say teen vaping is rampant. The school is trying to tackle the issue head-on.

“We've read the stats on teen vaping use and we know it’s happening in the St. Louis community…so as a school we want to give students and parents resources to address this,” said Alice Dickherber, spokeswoman for Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School.

A 2019 national institute on drug abuse report says teen vaping has doubled in the last two years.

Dr. Jack Eisenbeis, a professor at St. Louis University’s School of Medicine, says vaping or juuling is not a safe alternative to smoking because every vaping device has nicotine.

“Nicotine is very addictive. It goes to the brain. Makes you feel good,” Eisenbeis said. “So, when it wears off, what do we do? We want more nicotine to feel good again.”

Kids are also experimenting with marijuana and synthetic marijuana, which can kill you. The problem-solving discussion is aimed at getting kids to take ownership of what’s going on.

“They are the ones who stop bad things,” Eisenbeis said. “Like drunk driving; that became uncool, so we need the youth and teens of St. Louis to realize vaping is bad for you.”

On Tuesday, Governor Mike Parson said he has no plans to ban e-cigarettes but wants a public health campaign warning people of the dangers.

The students at Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School are doing just that. The student council thought this event would be a great thing for the entire school.

“They're great scholars and athletes and want to do something to prevent this from happening at our school,” Dickherber said.

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