Vaping Prevention Symposium
Vaping has rapidly become a challenge in Spokane and nationwide. School and student leaders are asking for assistance with prevention education to curb a dangerous practice that has seen significant growth among middle and high school students over the past year. Its use is beginning to be seen with elementary students as well.
“School and healthcare leaders are the perfect partners to stand with our students who are asking for help and wanting to be part of the solution,” said Shelley Redinger, Spokane Public Schools (SPS) superintendent. “They are concerned about vaping and the long‐term impacts it will have on their peers.”
The symposium will begin with a community partner resource fair at 5 p.m. The formal program will begin at 5:45 p.m. with a welcome and include the following presentations, panels, and breakouts:
- State of Vaping by Dr. Bob Lutz, Spokane Regional Health District health officer
- Hidden in Plain Sight by Jennifer Dorsett, certified prevent and chemical dependency professional
- Youth Panel
- Breakout Sessions
- Hidden in Plain Sight: A deeper dive
- The Truth Among the Vapors by Jared O’Connor, Washington Poison Center
- Cutting through the Fog: Starting the conversation with youth by the NEWESD and SPS
“Students are concerned about vaping in school,” North Central High School junior Kayla Eddy said. “It is something that gets talked about a lot and is impacting how we use our school. Students avoid restrooms and other places where we know vaping happens.”
The considerable health risks have grabbed headlines nationally. News accounts of deaths and serious illness have been part of the conversation for weeks.
“Vaping is dangerous. The harmful effects we’re just beginning to see have devastating consequences,” Dr. Lutz said. “It’s time for an honest discussion about the current and future health impacts vaping will have on our community.”
The SPS board has held discussions in recent months about vaping in schools to learn more about the scope of the practice, identify solutions, and is considering additional accountability options for repeat high school offenders. Student leaders have raised concerns about vaping at school board meetings and during advisory meetings with SPS leadership.
“The symposium will be a must‐attend event for parents of students at any age,” said Sue Chapin, school board president. “Unfortunately, we are seeing vaping becoming a problem with younger and younger students, and we need the help of families and the community to change that.”
The symposium is being put on by SPS, the SRHD, NEWESD 101, Washington Healthcare Authority, Washington Poison Control, West Spokane Prevention Partnership, Communities Talk, and Jimmy Johns.