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FBCA Alumna and PhD Candidate Provides Insight on E-Cigarettes

Brittney Byrd
FBCA Alumna, Victoria (Vickie) Torres is beginning her fourth year of graduate school at the University of Mississippi. She is pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology and is in the process of developing her dissertation on electronic cigarette usage.
“There are still ongoing debates on whether or not e-cigarettes should be banned altogether,” Victoria said. “However, the research concerning teen usage is quite clear. The human brain continues to develop until age 25, and we know that nicotine has a detrimental impact on learning.”

Her advice for parents is to inform their teens about the dangers of using e-cigarettes.

“Many people may think that e-cigarettes labeled with ‘0% nicotine’ are harmless; however, the aerosol in the devices contains lots of dangerous substances and studies have shown that these may still, in fact, contain nicotine," she said. "E-cigarette use has been linked with future cigarette use. Nicotine is extremely addictive. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to get addicted after smoking just one cigarette.”

Prior to attending graduate school, Torres worked in Waco at the Warriors Research Institute (WRI) at Baylor Scott & White. There, she garnered a Research Mentorship Award (RMA). Her Master's thesis work centered on identifying predictors of behavioral health among firefighters in their third year of service.

“Most people don't secure their first grant before attending graduate school,” she said. “I was pretty excited to be trusted with the opportunity to be the lead investigator on a project so early on. With guided mentorship, I was able to assess the frequency of mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) among firefighters.”

Last January, Victoria married to Robert Reyes. Former FBCA alums Crystal Teague (formerly Buraruk) and Lauren Herb (formerly Quirch), were in the wedding party.

“Like me, Rob was born and raised in Texas,” Victoria said. “Although we have enjoyed the change of scenery and met some delightful friends, upon completion of my graduate degree, we hope to return to Texas as we miss being close to our sweet family and friends and miss eating good Tex-Mex food.”

For more information about e-cigarettes, visit the CDC.
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