AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Tobacco Free Amarillo said after learning about a local case of vaping linked to serious illness, their campaign against vaping couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
Trudy Tripp Smith with Tobacco Free Amarillo said a mother whose daughter, Kaitlyn, was hospitalized for breathing problems reached out to the organization about the experience.
“She went and took her SAT’s Saturday morning, came home, couldn’t breathe. They went to Urgent Care and then they went to the ER a couple hours later, breathing treatments at both. Then they came home again about 11,” said Smith. “And at three o’clock, they went back to the ER and she was admitted directly to the hospital and she was in there for five days.”
She said Kaitlyn hadn’t revealed to her mother or doctors she had been using a mint-flavored vape she bought at a gas station.
Even though this happened a year ago, the mother and daughter are now working with Tobacco Free Amarillo to share their experience on the radio and social media.
“After we voiced the radio spots, I created a commercial to run on Facebook, just to share the story even more,” said Smith. “So people who have Sirius radio, they’re still on Facebook. So we just wanted to get the story in front of as many people to realize it’s happening to people here locally.”
The organization has billboards up in Amarillo to bring attention to the issue and they have a new billboard campaign going up next week.
They're also calling on doctors to ask patients about a history of vaping while it's being linked to various health issues.
“It’s really important because our kids are ending up in the hospital. When Kaitlyn was there, they never asked if she vaped,” said Smith. “And if they’re seeing them in the ER or their office, they need to ask if they vape. And if they kind of think they might be, ask the parent to step outside of the room and talk to the kids because you need to have the truth. And maybe the kids will tell you ‘yes’.”
Tobacco Free Amarillo wants anyone who has had an experience like Kaitlyn's to reach to out to help their campaign.
“Anyone that’s had a bad experience or an experience with vaping, we’d like them to reach out to us via Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to share their story.”