Essentia Health takes a stand on vaping in local schools

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live)-- The vaping epidemic continues to plague the U.S. with more and more cases of vaping related illnesses and deaths being reported every day.

A local vape shop owner believes illegal THC cartridges are the ones hurting people because of harmful ingredients. (WJHG/WECP)

Essentia Health in Fargo is putting their foot down and taking a stand against the issue here in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Just this month, North Dakota reported it's first vaping related death. As of Tuesday, that makes six total in the country. It's stats like these that are pushing experts with Essentia to find a solution.

"We have seen a huge need to get information out to all of our youth, quick, I mean as fast a we can," Health Prevention Specialist Kasi Eisenzimmer said. "We have seen a huge rise in the amount of students that are vaping."

Essentia is partnering up with local school districts, like West Fargo and Moorhead, to spread the word. They said that educating people is the most important step.

"The goal of this kit is to provide as much information as we can and just to see a positive change in our community," Eisenzimmer said. "We want everyone to be educated and everyone to work together to make this community as healthy as we can."

Essentia's campaign has a series of videos, quizzes and discussions for kids to learn more about the hazards of vaping.

It's become such as massive safety concern that on Wednesday, President Donald Trump even proposed a ban on flavored e-cigarettes.

"The kids don't want the menthol. They want the sour patch kids--they want the mango flavors," Eisenzimmer said. "So, that is a huge step in the right direction."

But not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. One local business employee said this kind of a ban could be detrimental.

"Not even on just our business, but to everybody," Electric Underground employee Cody Ciesielski said. "It is going to have a huge impact on the industry as a whole."

Ciesielski said he believes the issue doesn't stem from vaping, but rather from the tainted cartridges people are using.

Health experts are saying, not so fast.

"Don't vape, don't start," Eisenzimmer said. "Nothing good is going to come out of it."

Officials with Essentia are trying to stop the epidemic in its tracks, before more people's lives are taken from vaping.

Essentia Health is meeting with the Fargo school district tomorrow, to talk about incorporating their program.

For those who are interested in learning more about the "Don't Blow It Campaign," we've attached the link here: