Dr. Vazquez addresses vaping
Posted on 04/10/2023
Mondays with Maria Banner



Dr. Maria Vazquez: Hello, I'm Maria Vazquez, Superintendent of Orange County Public Schools, and this is Mondays with Maria. Today, Dr. Robert Karch, the Director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, is back with us to talk about the use of vaping among our young people. Welcome back, Dr. Karch. It's so good to see you again.

Dr. Karch: Thanks, Dr. Vazquez. It's nice to be back. In 2021, 23% of Florida high school students reported concurrent vaping and vaping has been marketed as a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. And it's simply not. Vape juice, can contain chemicals that cause permanent lung damage. They contain every bit as much, if not more nicotine than cigarettes. And nicotine can affect brain development. And the earlier somebody is exposed to nicotine, the more likely they are to be addicted. And so to that end, the Florida Department of Health in Orange County is excited to be working with OCPS leadership to develop some proposals to counter the uptake of electronic vaping. We’re interested in starting what are called SWAT teams, Students Working Against Tobacco. These are peer led groups, working to convince peers not to start smoking or electronic vaping. So we look forward in the future to working with OCPS to develop student SWAT teams in each and every middle and high school in Orange County. And I look forward to coming back at some point and updating you on, on how we're doing.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: You know, I am so excited to hear the efforts that you and your team are working on to help curb the use of vaping. We have continued to see a rise in the number of students that are vaping despite some of the efforts that we have had working with local organizations such as the American Heart Association to curtail the use. And I love that you are looking at peers to be able to really drive the message of the dangers of vaping, the impact it has on the brain and on the body. Because we have found that teens listen to their peers sometimes more than they do to the adults in their lives. So we are, again, so grateful for the partnership that we have, and we're looking forward to your update on these student teams. And I think there's some other topics we could have you come back and talk to our families about. So I'm excited about the work that is yet to come.

Dr. Karch: I am as well, and there are many issues that we can partner together on the Florida Department of Health and OCPS. Thank you.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Well, thank you again. And that wraps up another session of Mondays with Maria. We will see you next time.

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