Visalia Unified School District holds forum for parents on vaping

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Several school officials in the South Valley are joining forces to tackle the vaping epidemic on their campuses.

Visalia Unified School District officials held a forum for parents on Thursday night. They say they're seeing a rise in the potentially dangerous habit.

The forum was held at El Diamante High School.

It's an epidemic Visalia Unified school officials say is on the rise on many of their campuses and they want parents to know how to look for the warning signs.

"The goal is to really further educate our parents allowing them to be aware of what is vaping, and how it affects their students and what to look for," said Frank Escobar with the Visalia Union School District.

Escobar said they're teaming up with the police department, the California Health Collaborative, and the Tulare County Office of Education is hosting a forum to inform parents of the dangerous trend.

"Partnering with them is just building resources for us to do this in a better way not just for the community for staff, and also for our students," he said.

Parents like Adele De Souza attended the meeting to find out what they could.

"My husband and I know nothing about vaping so we're interested in the basic information, and what to do if it becomes a problem In our house," she said.

Organization officials said in Visalia, there are 100 tobacco retailers, and 33 of those are within walking distance to schools.

The vape products can look like everyday items, such as pens and USB devices, but organizers said that many of these products are easily hidden.

"Parents should be looking for strange electronic devices they don't recognize, they should be looking for unfamiliar chargers and coils," said May Chung of the California Health Collaborative.

The state department of public health also announced a new advertising campaign against vaping as part of an executive order by Governor Gavin Newsom.

In Visalia, City Officials are looking into an ordinance that would ban the sale of vape products, and target retailers selling to minors.

"That's what I would like to see, ban smoking, including vaping, in all public places," said Visalia resident Roy Kendall.

This is one of at least six meetings that VUSD officials plan to have at several campuses before the end of the school in hopes of helping students stop vaping.
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