Local Health and School Officials Recognize Danger of Vaping

Emily Ness
Updated: September 27, 2019 10:39 PM

There used to be a time when smoking was the norm. Essentia Health has partnered with Duluth schools to ensure that vaping does not allow that to happen again. During a discussion on Friday, local health and school officials informed the public of the harmful effects of vaping, including: addiction, illness and even death.


“What has really turned the tide for us is how public it has become in the news and its sad that it had to get to that point, but now we have parents reaching out and asking and we have kids that are starting to get worried about it and worried about their friends using it so its at least being talked about all over,” Danette Seboe, principal at Duluth East high school said.

Seboe began noticing a trend with e-cigarettes last fall when she saw that students were keeping them in their pockets and pencil cases—using them in the bathroom, the locker room and even the classroom.

"I think what has been the scariest for all of us is not just how prevalent it is, but the fact that it is all student groups. It's our athletes, it's our scholars. Students are doing it as a stress reliever to calm down; they're sharing it with each other,” Seboe said.

At one point, Seboe said she and fellow teachers were confiscating up to 15 e-cigarettes a day.

"Typically when we confiscate those things, our school resource officer destroys them and early last year, we stopped destroying them so that we could show parents. We gave one of our collections to the American Lung Association, we gave another collection to another high school and my bin is filling again,” Seboe said.

In order to combat the epidemic, Essentia Health and Duluth Schools put together a video campaign called ‘Don’t Blow It,’ which they played at the conference. In the ten minute long video, students can be seen talking about their experiences and advocating for why they and others should remain smoke free. A link for the video can be found here.

Following the video, guests were welcomed to join the discussion. One of the most common questions asked by those in attendance was what to do as a parent. Experts in attendance said that parents should educate themselves and their children on the harmful effects of vaping, as well as, be aware.

“Don’t think this isn’t Big Tobacco taking over again,” Jill Doberstein, Tobacco Treatment Program Supervisor at Essentia said.

In addition to putting together a campaign video, Essentia put together a toolkit for teachers and parents to use to learn more about the dangers of vaping. A link for the toolkit can be found here.


Emily Ness

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