Letters to the Editor

'Behind the Haze' exposes vaping risk

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has launched a public awareness campaign to educate youths about the dangers of e-cigarettes, or “vaping.” The “Behind the Haze” campaign is part of a $2 million effort announced by Gov. Eric J. Holcomb and State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG, to reduce vaping among Indiana youth.

Dr. Box said the Indiana Youth Tobacco Survey found the use of e-cigarettes has increased more than 350 percent among Indiana middle and high school students since 2012, which makes public awareness a critical part of protecting young Hoosiers’ health.

"Most teens don’t really know what these products contain,” Dr. Box said. “We hope that this campaign educates youth about what they could be putting into their bodies and helps protect them from the lung injuries and nicotine addiction that we are seeing across our state.”

Indiana is licensing “Behind the Haze” as part of its three-pronged Vape-Free Indiana initiative, which includes prevention, education and cessation. The effort also includes school convocations featuring the “Sweet Deception” program, which is expected to reach more than 32,000 students in 52 schools this year, peer-to-peer training and resources for schools and parents. Details and resources are available at vapefreeindiana.isdh.in.gov.

Miranda Spitznagle, director of the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commission, said ISDH chose the “Behind the Haze” campaign because of its proven success in reaching teens in other states.

“We know that young people are more likely to pay attention to a message designed to change their behaviors when it’s delivered by their peers,” Spitznagle said. “This campaign speaks to youth in clear, no-nonsense language and will reach them on media platforms that they’re most likely to use, like Instagram and Facebook.”

The campaign comes as ISDH continues to investigate vaping-related lung injuries that have hospitalized 104 people and led to four Indiana deaths. To learn more about these severe lung injuries, visit https://www.in.gov/isdh/28337.htm. For the latest on vaping-related injuries nationwide, visit the CDC website at https://bit.ly/2mgcCrw.

For important health and safety information, visit ISDH at www.StateHealth.in.gov or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.

— ANNIE REISS

Clark County Tobacco Prevention & Cessation coordinator

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Judges played role in shooting

While three of the defendants in the Indianapolis White Castle shooting are relatively free, a fourth, Brandon Kaiser, is set to go to trial this week. Judge Sabrina Bell was one of the instigators, followed by Judges Adams and Jacobs. Their reckless behavior has pushed Kaiser over the edge of the law into a self-defense stance that may cause him years in prison. What if the three judges attended Kaiser’s trial and testified about their culpability. Maybe Kaiser would receive a fairer sentence. How about it, Judges. Adams, Jacobs, and Bell?

— VIRGINIA WINCHELL

New Albany

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