DICKSON, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Middle Tennessee community has taken a different approach when it comes to combatting kids and vaping.

Dickson County requires students caught vaping to attend an educational session with their parents before heading to juvenile court.

“You typically get a young person who, you know, they understand the dangers of your traditional tobacco products, and they would never smoke. But there is such a misconception that these [e-cigarette] products are safe. And I think that has increased with our young people,” said Karrie Thompson.

Tackling those tales of untruth is part of Thompson’s job as the assistant director of Drug Free Dickson, which is a coalition funded by a grant program from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

“When a citation is written for a student that has one of these products on school property, before they go before a Judge, they have to come to our education and awareness class.” She continued, “Parents have to attend too.”

The class takes an interactive approach and is a judge-free zone, Thompson explained.

“It’s not just another lecture, you know, we’re not just going in and telling them not to do it. We really want them to understand why it’s harmful for them.”

The sessions have seen success, but the coalition saw a greater need and have taken their strategy a step further. 

“We’ve started a nicotine cessation class. It can go anywhere from five to eight weeks, fully volunteer. It’s very interactive. And we really give the students the tools that they need to quit,” she said.

If interested in learning more, you can take the quiz “Are you addicted to nicotine?” by clicking on this link.

Then you can enroll in a 45-minute free class offered once a week to anyone struggling to kick the habit.

“They start to recognize what their triggers are, why they’re using these products to begin with” Thompson added, “They make plans of what to do instead of vaping.”

Another tool in the toolkit to stop students from becoming life-long users.

Help your teen quit by contacting the Tennessee Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or text “quit” to (615) 795-0600 or visit this link right now.