About 150 people, mostly New Jersey school and pediatric nurses, teachers, administrators and concerned community members plan to attend a vaping and e-cigarette lecture on Thursday hosted by AtlantiCare.

Laura Engelmann, community health and wellness manager at AtlantiCare, said the lecture, entitled "Vaping and E-Cigarettes: A National Youth Crisis" will take place Jan. 9 from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Carriage House on South Pitney Road in Galloway, New Jersey.

The goal of the lecture is to bring awareness to this national crisis affecting adults and young people. She said the percentage of vaping and e-cigarette use among youth is drastically on the rise and there is concern about what this can do to their future health.

Vaping and e-cigs comes in many shapes and sizes, said Engelmann. Those attending the lecture hope to learn what to look for, what to know about the risks to youths, what to look for if they feel there is a concern around this use as well as substance use.

There will be two keynote speakers this year: Brian Jenssen, a pediatrician and assistant professor at Perelman School of Medicine at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Carlo Favretto Jr., regional youth coordinator at Atlantic Prevention Resources. Some of the highlights they will cover include trends in adolescent and youth e-cigarette use, health risks of electronic nicotine delivery systems, signs of their use among youth and adolescents and discussions about resources for clinicians, schools and families.

Engelmann said AtlantiCare is working to educate the community about how they can prevent the use of vaping and e-cigs and other substance abuses among youth. But she said nurses, teachers and parents can't just tell kids not to vape. They need to recognize that kids are drawn to vaping. So it's important to train educators and nurses on how to talk to kids about vaping. They need to provide kids with resources, encouragement and the support that they'll need so that they'll make good decisions.

"It's important to educate the community on not only what vaping is, but exactly how we can speak to youth better on identifying their use and encouraging them not to participate in this kind of activity," said Engelmann.

The event is part of AtlantiCare Healthy Schools, Healthy Children School and Pediatric Nurse Lecture Series.

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