Local health leader: Vaping among students remains significant concern

By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — Indiana Health officials recently said they believe the vaping epidemic across the state has possibly peaked — based on a study in Indiana — but some local officials disagree.

Lisa Harman, president and CEO of Live Well Kosciusko, which oversees the anti-tobacco coalition known as Breathe Well Coalition, continues to focus resources on vaping, which has become a large issue among young people.

Vaping’s popularity exploded in the 2010s, among both adults and teens. In 2014, e-cigarettes surpassed combustible cigarettes as the tobacco product that youth used the most. By 2019, 28% of high schoolers were vaping, according to a story recently posted by the Associated Press.

Harman said she thinks it’s apparent that the use of e-cigarettes has still not peaked.

Nationally, health experts say they still don’t have enough research to determine long term negative effects from vaping and some have called on the Surgeon General to issue a report similar to one on tobacco that was conducted in the 1960s.

As for the continued use of vaping, Harman believes it’s apparent.

“If you ask our teachers, if you ask our school resource officers, and actually, if you ask our students and youth, they would say vaping continues to be a large health issue in Kosciusko County and even nationwide,” Harman said.

In a recent meeting of the coalition, participants got an update on the commercial vaping products being passed off as different items such as highlighters and other commonly used school items.

“It continues to ge a big issue,” Harman said.

Breath Well Kosciusko has a handful of programs is uses with local school districts  addressing the dangers of vaping and has a new effort that includes billboards in the community.

Harman made her comments in an interview for In The Know, the public affairs show that can be heard this weekend on Kensington Digital Media radio stations.

You can also listen to In The Know in a podcast form here.

Below is a schedule for In The Know, which airs weekly on Kensington Digital Media:

News Now Warsaw (99.7 FM and 1480 AM):

Fridays at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Saturdays at 7 a.m.

Sundays at 7 a.m. & 2 p.m.

WRSW (107.3):

Sundays at 6 a.m.

Willie (103.5 FM):

Sundays at 6 a.m.