Registration Underway for Porter County Virtual Panel Conversation on Flavors that lead to Nicotine Addiction
    Valparaiso, IN – The Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County, in affiliation with the Valparaiso University College of Nursing and Health Professions, is hosting a free virtual community conversation, Sweet Deception: Consequences of Nicotine Addiction, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 19. Registration is free and open to the public.  Adams Radio Group’s Region radio personality, entertainer, and former smoker, Mike Bonaventura, will serve as moderator of the panel discussion that will address:
    • How and why flavored products hook users quicker and more permanently
    • How and why the tobacco industry intentionally targets youth and other marginalized populations
    • How nicotine use effects behavioral and physical health
    • What local school resource officers are experiencing and what parents should know
    • Resources for adult and teens to quit
    This community dialogue featuring local professionals is part of a larger effort driven by the Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County to educate parents, educators, policy-makers and community members about the intentional tobacco industry ploys targeting our youth and other marginalized populations to addict them to nicotine through e-cigarettes. “Youth continue to report easy access to flavored e-cigarettes, with 80% of 10th and 12th graders who vape reporting that they could easily get a vaping flavor other than tobacco or menthol. Fruit, mint and menthol were the most frequently used flavors among youth who vaped,” said Carrie Higgins, Program Director of the Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County.
    According to the latest data, from the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 3.6 million kids use e-cigarettes, including nearly 1 in 5 high school students. Of these kids, 1.3 million use e-cigarettes frequently or daily, a strong indicator of addiction. Flavored e-cigarettes have driven this crisis as 83% of youth e-cigarette users report using flavored products, and 70% of youth users say they use e-cigarettes because of the flavors. The evidence is also clear that menthol-flavored e-cigarettes are widely used by kids and kids will shift to menthol products if they are left on the market. “A high proportion of Porter County tobacco retailers engage in intentional point-of-sale marketing tactics that encourages youth to use tobacco, makes quitting tobacco more difficult, and disproportionately targets some communities, which contributes to disparities in tobacco use rates and tobacco-related health outcomes,” said Higgins
    The panelists for this conversation include:
    • Lindsey Sample, MSN, AG-ACNP-BC, CCRN is an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with Northwest Health Pulmonary-Critical Care. Her critical care expertise includes working with physicians Dr. Douglas Mazurek and Dr. James Anthony; the Neuro ICU and CTICU at the University of Chicago where she was helped manage cardiac surgery patients, heart and lung transplant patients, ECMO, total artificial hearts, NuPulse, LVAD's, strokes and traumatic brain injuries.  Upon graduation from Georgetown University with her MSN she became a Nurse Practitioner on the Lung Transplant Team at the University of Chicago.  In early 2020 she spent a large portion of her time managing vape related lung injuries that were being worked up for lung transplant while utilizing ECMO as bridge to lung transplant. 
    • Lt. Jason Praschak has 16 years of service with the Porter County Sheriff’s Department where he is an ERT Commander, K9 Officer, Use of Force/Defensive Tactics instructor, and Resource Officer for the East Porter County Schools.
    • Carrie Higgins, MS, RCHES is the Program Director of the Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County in affiliation with the Valparaiso University College of Nursing and Health Professions who serves as the lead agency for the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Division of the Indiana Department of Health.  Carrie has over 35 years as a public health advocate with experience in employee wellness, student wellness and general community health, including smoking cessation.
    • Todd Willis, Director of Prevention and Education has been with Porter-Starke Services, Inc. since November 2000 and has been serving children and their families for 20 years.  During this time period he has worked with a variety of children, adolescents, and their families in a number of setting including schools, hospitals, residential, day treatment, outpatient and the juvenile detention setting. His current role allows him to work closely in the community with the goal of decreasing mental health and addiction stigma.  In addition, Todd has a passion to help people build protective factors and develop strategies to prevent mental health, addiction and suicide from developing within themselves and their families.  He is a licensed mental health counselor and a licensed clinical addiction counselor in the state of Indiana and Missouri. Todd also serves on several community boards including:  The Starke County Community Corrections Advisory Board, Porter County Drug Juvenile Drug Court, Porter County Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, and Porter County Tobacco Prevention and Education Coalition, PATH Board. PC Substance Free, Porter County Substance Abuse Council. 
    Register for this free online event, Sweet Deception: Consequences of Nicotine Addiction, at
    www.valpo.edu/tepc/. More information about this event or The Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County is available at valpo.edu/tepc/ or Facebook at TEPCPorterCounty.
    About the Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County (TEPCPC)
    The Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County is a community-based coalition comprised of a network of diverse partners dedicated to saving lives and improving the quality of life for citizens of Porter County. The Coalition aspires to save lives by reducing tobacco use and eliminating health disparities related to tobacco use by protecting residents from secondhand smoke; preventing and reducing youth tobacco use and access to tobacco products; and improving cessation services to assist smokers in quitting. The TEPCPC is one of 49 coalitions throughout Indiana that is funded through a grant from the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commission. The TEPCPC is affiliated with the Valparaiso College of Nursing and Health Professions who serves as the lead agency for the grant. For more information, visit TEPCPorterCounty on Facebook or the Coalition website at www.valpo.edu/tepc/.

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