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Youth council makes video on vaping

The LaGrange Youth Council has made a special video aimed at informing young people about the effects of using e-cigarettes.

The youth council is made up of juniors and seniors from local high schools that provide advice and counsel to the LaGrange City Council about issues impacting young people. The council has formed committees to take on social issues, including e-cigarettes.

In the video produced by LaGrange Television, students on the youth council give statistics about the use of e-cigarettes while performing everyday tasks in school.

Inbetween scenes, the video cites statistics from sources such as the National Youth Tobacco study, the Center for Disease Control and Harvard University.  

Near the end, the students stand around Dr. Karyn Hunnicut of The Children’s Clinic of LaGrange, who backs up the student’s information from the video.

“There just isn’t enough long-term evidence about the effects of vaping,” Hunnicut said in the video. “But the serious harm to the brain is there, especially the younger you are.”

Kannon Key, a junior at Springwood School in Lanett who lives in LaGrange, and is the chairman of the council’s vaping committee, said vaping is a subject close to him.

“I have friends that I have seen vape constantly and how much it controls their life,” he said.

He said some of his peers couldn’t go very long without having to use the vaping device, although many say they can stop vaping whenever they want.

“It is unrealistic to say you can stop vaping,” Key said. “There are consequences for it.”

Although Key said he’s never participated in vaping, when he first heard about it, he was told it was a way for people to stop smoking. However, he said it never looked like it was good for the human body. Several studies have shown that many vape devices have as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes.

The theme of the video was based on an old “Saved By the Bell” episode called “No Hope With Dope” from 1991. During the episode, the high schoolers from California attempt to make a public service announcement commercial about the dangers of marijuana.

Key said it was a spinoff from that episode, but they wanted it to be more serious with hard-hitting facts.

During the interview process for the youth council, Key said he talked about how vaping was an issue for his peers, and the video scratches the surface. He said during his time on the youth council, the organization tries to help with many social issues.

“There are a lot of underlying issues that we all want to try help with throughout LaGrange,” Key said. “Whether it’s dealing with mental health, vaping, or helping people go to college.”

At the beginning of February, the Troup County School System, WellStar West Georgia Medical Center and local law enforcement hosted a forum to inform parents about an upcoming presentation to local students.

At that forum, WellStar officials said 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.