Grande Prairie school districts are concerned about vaping and its increased use among their students. That’s according to Alberta Health Services Addiction Prevention Counsellor Greg Paterson.

Because of that concern, Paterson will be hosting a vaping information session next week for parents, students and school staff. He says school administrators contacted him after seeing students as young as grade 6 taking up vaping.

“Both the increasing and ongoing use that they’re seeing amongst people who have been previously smoking are now using them but also a population of students who didn’t smoke before at all that are taking up this trend. It does seem to be an evolving culture among adolescents.”

A similar event was held in the city last November. People who attend the session will learn about the health risks associated with vaping, the reasons why some teens vape as well as giving parents tips on how to talk to their children. Paterson says the best advice he can give parents is to be non-confrontational.

“That approach to opening up a conversation [and having an] open dialogue with them, basically working from where they are [and] trying to understand why it is that they’re using. The hard-line of simply telling them to stop doing it and not to do it, it just doesn’t work and often what we see is hidden subcultures of youth who continue on with this use.”

The presentation will be held at the Grande Prairie Public School District on March 20th from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.