Via PENSACOLA, Fla. (WEAR) — Addiction, it is not just the person who is suffering the addiction; it is also a family issue. Attorney Mike Papantonio talks with Sue Straughn about something that’s kind of certainly at the forefront of the controversy, certainly in the news, vaping.

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*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Sue Straughn:                      Addiction, it is not just the person who is suffering the addiction, it is a family issue. It is a community issue and there’s an opportunity for the community to come together to address that and there’s just so many new things that are always on the horizon, new concerns for us. We’re going to learn about all of that right now. Mike Papantonio with the Levin Papantonio law firm and we have Denise Manassa with the community drug and alcohol council. Welcome to both of you.

Mike Papantonio:             Thank you.

Denise Manassa:              Thank you.

Sue Straughn:                      Mike, I want to talk about something that’s kind of certainly at the forefront. Lots of controversy, certainly in the news, vaping.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, vape, vaping is just the new tobacco. As a matter of fact, the same people who put the vaping industry together are the same people who brought us tobacco for a decade, decade after decade, and it’s just as dangerous and it’s posing a huge health, health issue right now. The only way to solve it is the same thing we did to tobacco is you’ve got to take it to court. They, the American public needs to see all of those documents. They need to see what the company knew, what they’ve covered up, and what they knew the results would be and results are bad.

Sue Straughn:                      And, but again, there’s the controversy surrounding that because there are people who are, are in the industry. Those, there are individuals who are vaping as oppose to smoking cigarettes, who say, you know that no, that the stats aren’t there. When you look at the numbers, it’s nothing like it is with, with other addictive things.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah, what the industry has done, a good job of doing is saying do this because it’s safer. When you look at the science, that’s just not true. We talk about what’s included in that, that you’re vaping, it’s heavy, it’s pesticides, it’s heavy metals, it’s C acetate. It’s all these things that can do huge damage to the lungs. The industry has been good about avoiding that conversation.

Sue Straughn:                      Denise, you have been nodding throughout this and, and, you know, the community drug and alcohol. What, are you kind of including vaping in that now? And I know that opioids is a very big concern and an issue that you’re dealing with.

Denise Manassa:              Oh, absolutely. Vaping or Ens is, nicotine is a substance that is addictive. And when we look at the adolescent brain, the development and the concern is when adolescents use nicotine substance, it can change the growth and development of that brain and potentially according to the CDC show signs of addiction towards other drugs as well. And it’s a flavoring also like Mr. Papantonio said, the flavoring encourages our youth.

Sue Straughn:                      So for people who are out there, for those who are suffering through addictions, for the family members who again are wrapped up in this, you have a community forum coming up. Tell us about that.

Denise Manassa:              Yes, we have a community forum. It will be October 8th. It is on treatment and recovery. We’re fortunate to have Mollye from the Levin firm that’s going to be our moderator and it is at Washington high school. It’s at 5:00 PM the door’s open and it will, the discussion will start at 6:00 PM. We will have a panel of experts that will be able to answer questions that community members might have. And it’s also about the hope. It’s about trying to help our community in a lot of ways heal. Our mission is to help community members live healthier lifestyles.

Sue Straughn:                      All right, Mike, time for one final quick question. How does the public need to get engaged in this whole issue, whether it’s be vaping, opioids, those things that are impacting our community?

Mike Papantonio:             Well, we’re, right now we’re, we’re faced with many types of addictions and the difference is every, every treatment for each one of those addictions is a little bit different. One doesn’t solve the other. Opioids, for example, it may very extended treatment needed for opioids. With vaping, probably not so.

Sue Straughn:                      All right. Thank you both so much for being with us.

Denise Manassa:              Thank you.

Sue Straughn:                      We’ll be right back.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.