University of Kentucky comic book illustrates the dangers of vaping

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Posted at 1:47 PM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 17:43:57-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A team at the University of Kentucky has created a comic book that can be used to teach young students about the harms of vaping.

The goal is to present the facts and statistics in an approachable way.

"They're engaging," Dr. Joel Thompson, editor-in-chief, said about the comic book illustrations. "They're something that kids are familiar with so it's not like they're picking up a book or a journal article or something like that. They're picking up a very common media and we're using that then to tell this story."

While researchers don't have all the answers about e-cigarettes, they do know they are not a healthy choice.

"They're certainly not harmless, which is what the industry wants you to you to think," Melinda Ickes, UK tobacco education researcher, said. "A lot of research is coming out on short term health effects for young people specifically on their lung capacity, challenges with breathing, respiratory effects and we really don't know the long-term damage because they haven't been around for that long."

"Very bluntly, I hope they become skeptical of the junk they see on social media because that's the primary driver of all the misinformation and convincing people that things that are very bad are not very bad," Thompson said.

The team is still perfecting the comic book based on feedback they're getting, but teachers who are interested can apply here to get it in the classroom by next spring.