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Texas PTA President Sheri Doss addresses the vaping crisis.

Straight Talk: February 25, 2020, 12:00 PM

PTA in Texas works tirelessly to ensure the health and happiness of all students. With the U.S. vaping crisis now at a dangerous new high among teens, Texas PTA recognizes the urgency to address this critical situation well before the start of the 87th Legislative Session next year. Students as young as middle school are becoming sick because of this popular yet lethal trend, and much of this crisis is playing out every day in schools across the state.

On February 25, beginning at 12:00 pm, Texas PTA is hosting the first-ever Straight Talk at the Capitol: A Matter of Life and Breath. Two panels will give students, parents, and physicians an opportunity to share their stories and discuss what can be done – at home, in school, and at the state level.

We invite PTAs, families, schools, and all advocates to watch the event LIVE on the Texas PTA Facebook page. Questions will be taken in advance and addressed as time allows. (Submit your question for panelists here.)

This special event will be used as a springboard to enact change. Together we can extinguish teen vaping. Please join us.

In collaboration with The American Heart Association.

Moderated by:

Texas PTA President Sheri Doss

Tanya Edwards, Executive Vice President, SouthWest for the American Heart Association
Tanya is responsible for all aspects of business operations, mission revenue, volunteer cultivation, staff development and community impact for American Heart Association's field offices in Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming. Her vision to transform the organization’s approach within communities created a sustainable collective impact model now active in 35 local markets. By addressing nutrition and food insecurities, physical activity, chronic disease, tobacco and e-cigarettes, social determinants of health and cardiovascular emergencies, more than 46 million Americans are living longer, healthier lives as a result of community-focused solutions supported by the American Heart Association.

Panelists

Samantha Boy is an advocate and ambassador against vaping and e-cigarettes. Ms. Boy first got involved in this issue after her young daughter became addicted to JUUL. As a member of the Texas Chapter of Parents Against Vaping, Ms. Boy testified in the Texas Senate hearing in favor of SB 21, as well as attended the federal hearing on e-cigarettes in Washington, D.C. Ms. Boy is an ambassador of the Catch My Breath vaping prevention program and a board member of Enough Inc., a non-profit aimed at eliminating youth nicotine use.

Anna Carey is a student in Fort Worth. A former athlete, she started vaping as a freshman in high school. Following a medical crisis related to her vaping habit, she now volunteers to speak to groups about her experience. She hopes to help other students get accurate information about vaping so that they feel better able to resist peer pressure to vape, and to help parents recognize the signs if their child is vaping, talk to their child about the health risks of vaping, and help them quit.

Kellen Kruk is a sophomore at Texas State University, pursuing a degree in Political Science with a minor in Journalism. He is a Teen Ambassador for the statewide tobacco prevention program, ‘Say What!’. In 2019, Kruk received the Regional Youth Advocate of the Year Award from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. He was also the leader of the ‘Texas 21 Youth Coalition’ and testified in the House and Senate in favor of raising the age to buy tobacco in Texas. Kellen is a passionate advocate for tobacco prevention and plans to continue advocating through college.

Shelby Massey is The American Heart Association’s Government Relations Director for Texas. She works on policies at the state and local levels aimed at improving the cardiovascular health of all Texans, which focuses on reducing tobacco use, healthy eating and active living, and access to care.

Dr. Maria Monge is director of adolescent medicine at Dell Children’s Medical Center and an adolescent physician at People’s Community Clinic in Austin,  a non-profit, primary health care facility whose purpose is to provide high quality medical, counseling, and health education to persons who are medically underserved and uninsured.

Jennifer Steele is the Associate Director for the Tobacco Prevention and Enforcement Division at Texas State University’s Texas School Safety Center where she oversees the statewide youth tobacco prevention program Say What! (Students, Adults, and Youth Working Hard Against Tobacco!) Jennifer also manages multiple tobacco surveillance and enforcement programs for the state.

Dr. Jeannie Stone was appointed Superintendent in Richardson ISD in 2017. She has been in Richardson for four years also serving in the roles of Deputy Superintendent, Acting Superintendent, and Interim Superintendent. Dr. Stone was recognized with the 2017 “Superintendent of the Year” award by the Texas Educational Support Staff Association, the 2018 “Outstanding Educator” award by Altrusa International, and the 2019 "Superintendent of the Year" award by Texas PTA.

Tricia Vasquez has worked in radio broadcasting and education. After moving to West Texas in 2001, she continued to teach and ultimately landed in the software industry as a curriculum developer for Tyler Technologies. Tricia serves as awards chair on the Monterey High School PTA Board. Most recently, Tricia developed and delivered a presentation entitled Teen Vaping: Reaching Generation Z, sponsored by the Monterey PTA. She is the proud wife of Vince, mother of Caleb and Emma, and stepmother of Vance.

John M. Zerwas, M.D., joined The University of Texas System as Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs in October 2019. He provides oversight and guidance for the six UT System health institutions, one of the largest networks of academic health institutions in the country. Prior to joining U. T. System, Dr. Zerwas served fourteen years in the Texas House of Representatives. In 2019, Dr. Zerwas passed legislation to raise the age to purchase and use tobacco products to 21.

(List updated 2/21/20)

For Council PTAs

All Council PTAs are encouraged to host a February 25th Watch Party, inviting Local PTAs, families, and schools to attend. Consider also inviting members from the larger community including pediatricians. Use the Watch Party form to tell Texas PTA about your plans. We will keep a list on this webpage as a resource for volunteers.

Local PTA Toolkit

Spreading awareness is a big part of this campaign. Help make it a success by bringing the conversation on vaping to your community. A Local PTA Toolkit is available online here. It contains social media graphics, posters, logos, and much more. Files are available in both English and Spanish and are customized based on whether a PTA is listed on JoinPTA.org. Take a look and start using it today!

Watch Parties

Click here to see a listing of Council Watch Parties. 

Media Alert

Click here to download.