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How Papillion-La Vista Schools are Combating Student Vaping

Vaping is linked to multiple deaths nationwide
Posted at 10:09 PM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 23:09:56-05

PAPILLION, Neb. — Papillion-La Vista Schools are trying to put an end to vaping in their schools. The school district teamed up with Papillion Police and CHI Health to host a panel discussion on the dangers of student vaping. This is amidst a national outcry of this epidemic, there have been multiple reported deaths related to vaping nationwide.

"We have 14,15,16 year old kids that are telling us they're addicted to vaping and nicotine," Papillion-La Vista South High School principal Jeff Johnson said.

Vaping has become increasingly popular amongst young teens.

"There are vapes that are being found in the middle school," Papillion-La Vista High School Resource Officer Andy Mahan said.

At the panel discussion and presentation Wednesday evening a panel of experts discussed specific dangers related to this smoking craze and what to look out for.

"One cartridge has 20 cigarettes worth on nicotine. If that's not bad enough some students are going through multiple cartridges a day," officer Mahan said.

"Remember years ago when people were smoking? We thought it was fine. Doctors would tell women to smoke to lose weight," CHI Health certified tobacco treatment specialist Teri Erickson said to the audience of parents and staff.

The experts debunked myths, answered some questions and educated concerned parents, like Alice Spence. Alice has two 6th grade daughters that attend Belle Elementary School.

"I know that vaping is a pretty popular thing right now and I am anticipating that as our girls get older they'll be faced with peers that are doing it and I just don't have a lot of information about it myself," she said.

Parents say this meeting was important and helpful, because talking to children and teens about these types of topics is not always easy.

"Especially as adolescence comes closer and closer, it could be a challenge yes. But we try to maintain an open relationship with them and I hope that they'll feel like they can talk with us," Spence added.

Superintendent Andrew Rikli says that this is a critical topic and that this type of informative, open discussion is key.

"We hear from parents and community members every week that vaping and drug use is a huge concern to parents and community members. So we wanted to get out in front of it a little bit," Superintendent Rikli said.

Students can face suspension if they are found vaping on school grounds. But the devices are found nonetheless, and the district wants to put an end to it to keep everyone safe.

"There's one thing in common with every person that I've worked with. Every patient says one thing, 'if only I had never started,'" Erickson said.

For more information on vaping on how to quit you can call 1-800-QUITNOW or visit :

You can watch the full meeting on the school district's website.