Warren County High School students are suffering seizures at an alarming rate this year and the top school official says the problem is likely linked to vaping.
“We’ve had a lot more seizures than normal and we’re looking to see if it’s related to vaping,” said Director of Schools Bobby Cox. “We think there are some links, which is concerning.”
Cox said some of the seizures have been the result of pre-existing issues, but due to the large number of seizures requiring emergency medical attention it’s likely other factors like vaping are responsible.
“It’s something we are aware of and it’s something our Health Services department is following,” said Cox. “We’re following it on a national level to see what’s happening.”
Touted as a safer alternative to smoking just a few short years ago, health-related problems related to vaping have grabbed local and national headlines. In the latest update provided by the Centers for Disease Control on Oct. 3, there have been 1,080 vaping-related lung illnesses in the U.S.
The death toll has risen to at least 19.
“And we do expect others,” said CDC representative Dr. Anne Schuchat. “The data that we’re getting does not suggest this has peaked.”
While not discussing the exact number of cases, Cox said local students have suffered seizures on the high school campus and on school buses. Cox said the school system has a firm no-smoking policy, which includes vaping, but the devices are becoming increasing difficult to detect.
“There are products that release no vapor and look like a pencil,” said Cox. “It’s a hard thing to pinpoint.”
Unlike cigarettes which have a distinct smell, some vapes produce a fruity scent or have very little odor.
Since vapes are activated by the push of a button and don’t require a lighter or a match, it allows vaping to be done very discreetly. Using a vaping device can be easily accomplished during a quick trip to the bathroom.
Cox said school officials will continue to monitor the situation closely and do everything possible to keep vaping off campus.