Would parents know if their child used e-cigarettes? There is no odor as there is with tobacco cigarettes, and many parents may not even know what they look like.

Should parents worry if their child uses e-cigarettes? The industry is unregulated, more than 2,000 people in the U.S. have suffered severe lung injuries and there have been more than 50 deaths. Vaping, as the use of e-cigarettes is known, may signal an underlying disorder such as anxiety or depression.

Parents, students and concerned adults in the community can get answers to their questions at a free public program called Vaping: What You Need to Know with Elizabeth Jorgensen of Insight Counseling in Ridgefield.

The program will be presented twice:

 Wednesday, Dec. 11, 7-8:30 p.m. at Trackside Teen Center, 15 Station Road.

 Wednesday, Jan. 15, 10-11:30 a.m., Wilton Library, 137 Old Ridgefield Road

E-cigarettes and other vaping devices have been around since 2009, but there has not been much information available about their ingredients or safety until recently. Originally considered a way to stop smoking, millions of people took up what has become a habit as difficult to kick. The consequences of regular vaping — from nicotine addiction to the use of THC, and lung damage — has come to light in the last few years.

As a means to self-medicate anxiety or to simply fit in with their peers, vaping has become evident here and at area schools.

“Some kids are able to quit vaping when they understand that it is important to their parents, but when the child has an underlying disorder, like unmanaged anxiety, then they really do need help to quit,” says Jorgensen.

“I have seen vast rates of addiction, particularly in the kids who are most vulnerable. Anxiety disorders are epidemic, and nicotine is one of the oldest effective, short-term anti-anxiety agents that exist. It’s terrible, and causes all kinds of problems. But when kids become addicted, it’s because they have found a way to manage anxiety and perhaps other issues.”

Jorgensen will address common parent questions such as what the most popular devices look like and how they are used, and how to talk with teens about these products and intervene, if necessary. She will share the current research on the risks of vaping, including its potential to serve as a gateway to alcohol, opioid or THC abuse.

The programs are presented by student members of Wilton Youth Council’s Youth to Youth club at Wilton High School, Newport Academy, Trackside Teen Center, and Wilton Library. Students in middle school and up, parents with children of all ages, and other concerned adults are invited to learn more about how and why kids as young as elementary school are experimenting with, and sometimes becoming addicted to, these new products.

Registration is recommended for both programs. For Dec. 11, visit https://bit.ly/2KYxFbP. For Jan. 15, register at www.wiltonlibrary.org/events or by calling 203-762-6334.

Visit wiltonyouth.org for more information and email Genevieve Eason at geason@wiltonyouth.org with any questions.