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Petty champions the prevention of e-cigarette use in children

As a state pediatric champion, Petty will be tasked with leading local advocacy and educational initiatives related to youth e-cigarette prevention and addiction support.

Published May 11th, 2020

By Casandra Andrews
candrews@health.southalabama.edu

Melody Petty, M.D., MPH, FAAP, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was selected as the e-cigarette chapter champion for the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). In this role, she will serve as an advocate for the prevention of childhood nicotine use of products such as e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid and produce an aerosol, or mix of small particles in the air. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the addictive drug also found in regular cigarettes and other tobacco products. More than six million children are using tobacco products in the Unites States, according to recent estimates from the American Lung Association.

Petty, who also serves as a pediatric hospitalist for USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital, will represent the State of Alabama at a national kick-off meeting at the AAP national headquarters in the Chicago area this summer, said David A. Gremse, M.D., FAAP, Hollis J. Wiseman Distinguished Professor and Chair of the USA Department of Pediatrics.

“We are delighted Melody has committed her time and energy to represent our health system and state,” Gremse said. “E-cigarettes pose a serious health risk to our nation’s youth. As pediatric physicians, we play a vital role in protecting children from such dangers.”

As a state pediatric champion, Petty will be tasked with leading local advocacy and educational initiatives related to youth e-cigarette prevention and addiction support. She will also learn strategies to address e-cigarette use with youth and families, and then take what they’ve learned to lead educational sessions and communication activities back in Mobile and across the state.

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