Red Oak Independent School District, like districts across the country, has seen an increase in vaping incidents on campus. In an effort to address the issues, the district is hosting a "VAPING: Be In The Know" event to hear from professionals about the dangers of vaping from medical and legal perspectives and educate individuals on recognizing vapes.

The entire community is invited to attend, including parents, students, staff, concerned citizens from Red Oak and all surrounding communities. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 29, starting at 7 p.m. in the Red Oak High School Performing Arts Center, 220 South SH342 in Red Oak.

“This event is paramount for families to understand the dangers of vaping,” said Donna Knight, Red Oak ISD Community and Family Services Coordinator and event planner. “While we deal with students at the campuses, the community needs to know the hazards of vaping and the impact on the community.”

The dangers are very real, with numerous deaths reported across the country, plus the statistics showing a drastic rise in the use of vapes or e-cigarettes in individuals under age 25. Recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) data shows 1 in 4 high school students have vaped.

“Under the guise of ‘healthier’ because there isn’t smoke, most water-based vapes still contain nicotine which is addictive or more dangerous chemical or narcotic ‘pods’ which are compromising the health of our youth,” stated Knight.

The event includes guest speaker Dr. Devika Radhika Rao, a pediatric pulmonologist. Rao practices at Children’s Health in Dallas and is an Assistant Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Her expertise is in pulmonology and the damage caused by vaping, especially in teens. She will discuss the medical consequences smoking and vaping have on developing lungs, respiratory muscles and the airway.

In addition, there are legal consequences, both in school and out of school, to vaping based on the individual's age and the contents of a vape or pod. Judge Cindy Ermatinger, the 443rd Judicial Court Judge in Ellis County, will discuss the legal ramifications for illegal possession. Ermatinger previously served as an assistant district attorney in Dallas and Ellis counties specializing in juvenile cases. Red Oak ISD Administration and the ROISD Police Department will discuss campus-based consequences as well.

The presentation is sponsored by the REACH Council and Red Oak ISD.