Gabrielle Skaggs

Class of 2021, Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) Program
Photo of Gabrielle Skaggs
“I had the unique opportunity to rely on the tobacco cessation treatment training I received to encourage WV kids to avoid tobacco products including popular e-cigarettes. Teaching them the harmful effects to oral and pulmonary health is so important and rewarding.”

Gabrielle Skaggs is from Hurricane, WV. As a D4, or fourth-year dental student, Gabi completed her six-week rural rotation working in a community or private practice in Putnam County, WV. There, she partnered with the Putnam County Wellness Coalition and the coalition's director, Brian Holley, to create a support video to assist in the group's mission to eliminate substance abuse by creating and maintaining a safe and healthy environment that informs, advocates and supports youth and adults. 

WVU School of Dentistry maintains accreditation as a Certified Tobacco Treatment Training Program, the first dental school to earn the designation. Senior dental and dental hygiene students must be competent in tobacco cessation strategies as part of their graduation from the dental school curriculum. 

Skaggs focused her message on the dangers of vaping. 

As part of her research and the presentation she designed for Putnam County high school students, Skaggs found that as of February 18, 2020, a total of 2,807 hospitalizations due to e-cigarette use or vaping were reported to the CDC from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories. As of the same date, 68 deaths had been confirmed in 29 states and the District of Columbia. 

WATCH: Gabrielle Skaggs - The Dangers of Vaping

While it is best to not even experiment, for Skaggs, the most important message to share is that the risk of harmful side effects goes down immediately after a person stops smoking or vaping.