Lubbock oral surgeon fights vaping crisis with new initiative - FOX34 Lubbock

Lubbock oral surgeon fights vaping crisis with new initiative

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Doctors say it is a dangerous habit among kids across the nation.

The CDC reports at least 65 people have died from vaping-related illnesses in the U.S., and nearly 3,000 people have been hospitalized. In Texas, there have been three deaths related to vaping, including a 15-year-old.

"This was rather shocking to us as we kind of delved into some of the statistics surrounding this and saw just how significant it is," Dr. Robert Ioppolo, an oral surgeon with Hill & Ioppolo Oral & Dental Implant Surgery of Lubbock, said.

He said he has seen first-hand the effects vaping can have.

"We've definitely had some patients that were tobacco users and they transitioned over to vaping instead of using cigarettes," Dr. Ioppolo said. "We didn't see the same type of improvement or change that we would see with an individual who ceased using all those types of products."

To combat it, Dr. Ioppolo is campaigning with Project Save a Mouth as part of National Children's Dental Health Month, to teach kids and teens about the dangers of the habit. In addition to lung injuries, Dr. Ioppolo said it can also lead to major dental problems.

"That nicotine is going to cause vasoconstriction, so it decreases blood flow, and something that's particularly susceptible to that is the gum tissue around our teeth," he said. "An individual can develop gum disease. Gum disease then leads to bone loss around the teeth, a process called periodontitis."

He said the key to fighting the vaping crisis is education. In April, Dr. Ioppolo said they will be speaking to Lubbock High School students about the dangers of vaping. Students will be able to visit Hill & Ioppolo website to sign the "Stop the Vape" pledge, saying they will not use any vaping or tobacco products, and encourage others to do the same.

"If they continue to believe that it's without any sort of ramifications, negative ramifications of (vaping), and they believe so because that's what's been put out there, then I think it's our job to say, 'here's the truth,'" Dr. Ioppolo said.

To learn more about the services and procedures offered by Hill & Ioppolo Oral & Dental Implant Surgery of Lubbock, as well as its upcoming initiatives, click here.

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