Second annual Project E-prevent focuses on dangers of e-cigarettes

The second annual Project E-Prevent conference, focusing on e-cigarettes and their effect on youth, will be May 2 at the Perkins Building on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University.

“This is still a relatively new product,” said Kelly Owens, education specialist for the Southern KY AHEC, “but its use, especially among young people, has risen dramatically in the last few years. We’ve found that many still aren’t aware of the dangers it presents.”

A poll released in January by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky found that nearly 40 percent of Kentuckians age 18 to 29 have said they’ve tried e-cigarettes.

The conference agenda includes seven presentations about many aspects of e-cigarettes, including its cardiovascular effects, policy and regulatory implications, the dangers e-cigarettes pose for pregnant women, and an analysis of e-cigarette advertising on social media.

“Electronic cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth,” Owens said. “The 2016 Surgeon General’s report: E-Cigarette Use Amongst Youth & Young People, provided adequate evidence that they pose a serious public health threat. Among other things, the report found that e-cigarettes increase the number of youth and young adults who are exposed to nicotine and lead non-smokers to start smoking conventional cigarettes.”

Scientists are still learning more about how e-cigarettes affect health, according to the CDC. The vapor from e-cigarettes contains harmful ingredients, including nicotine. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can cause addiction and can harm the developing brain.

To register online, visit soahec.org/project-e-prevent/ or call 606-256-0950 for more information. Continuing education credit is available. The target audience consists of health professionals, educators, public health professionals, policy makers, or any other interested individuals.

The Southern Kentucky Area Health Education Center focuses on improving the health of its 15-county region, from Madison County down to the Tennessee border, through education and workforce development. In addition to Continuing Education programs, the So. KY AHEC facilitates rural health professions student rotations, health careers promotion and education, health education, and community outreach.

The conference is co-sponsored by Rockcastle Regional Hospital, and it is funded in part by a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. The Foundation’s mission is to address the unmet health needs of Kentucky.