Working together to inform community

Published 5:47 pm Monday, February 10, 2020

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This past Thursday brought together the Troup County School System, WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, the Troup County Sheriff’s Office and the LaGrange Police Department for one important reason. That reason is the youth of this region.

All the entities got together with the hopes to talking to parents about how they plan to inform their children about the dangers of e-cigarettes in elementary and middle school. Although heavy rainfall and storms from earlier in the day may have impacted attendance, what ended up happening was a strategy session between the stakeholders about what to do next.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has some staggering statistics about e-cigarettes. They report that the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes has risen from 3.6 million in 2018 to 5.4 million in 2019.

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While it’s encouraging the number of people smoking cigarettes has dramatically reduced, there is a new, unknown trend sweeping the hallways of schools. What scares most medical professionals is the fact there is no long-term study to refer to about e-cigarettes and the health impacts it will have.

However, Dr. Salman Fidahussein, chief of staff in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, many of the flavors provided to go with e-cigarettes are artificial flavors, and any time those are associated, there has to be chemical to provide the taste.

“Our lungs are not built for that because lungs are built for good ole’ air,” he said. “Any time you put anything in your lungs outside of that, it is potentially harmful.”

We are hopeful the school system, hospital and police departments can get through to the children in Troup County and reduce this problem before it gets too out of control. At the very least, it’s encouraging to see these organizations working together for a common cause.