Luka Kinard, a North Carolina teen, began vaping at the age of 14 and quickly became addicted. Once an honor roll student and athlete, he quickly lost sight of his everyday interests and moved his focus to Juuling. Luka experienced mood swings and behavior changes along with financial challenges as he tried to feed his addiction. His mother Kelly, worked diligently to find help for her son. After attending a rehabilitation treatment facility in California, Luka and his mom began the fight against youth vaping and nicotine addiction. Now speaking nationally and sharing his story, Luka is working tirelessly to inform the public about the dangers of vaping. Luka’s story has been featured on Today, NBC News, the Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition.
The 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey shows that youth e-cigarette rates are at alarming levels. Compared to 3.6 million youth users in 2018, now more than 5 million youth are current e-cigarette users. In addition, the majority of users reported Juul as their usual brand.
In efforts to educate the community and address vaping concerns, Dare County Department of Health & Human Services, Saving Lives Task Force, Breaking Through Task Force and Albemarle Regional Health Services have worked with other community partners to bring Luka and Kelly Kinard to Dare County for Escape a Vape events in February.
These events are free and open to late elementary, middle, and high school aged youth and adults. Adult and youth attendance together can start important conversations to prevent or intervene in youth substance use. Three events will be hosted from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm on the following dates:
- February 4 at Cape Hatteras Secondary
- February 5 at First Flight Middle School
- February 6 at Manteo Middle School
Each event will have giveaways, food, and prizes. Adults can enter to win a 40 inch Smart Roku TV and youth can enter to win a pair of Beats Wireless Headphones. In addition to Luka and Kelly, the event will feature a health fair before and after the keynote speakers with a variety of community health and wellness resources for youth and adults.
Registration is encouraged but not required. Call 252.475.9375 or visit darenc.com/EscapeAVape for more information or to register to attend the event.