TikTok doctor takes on vaping

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (KARE) – In a small clinic in North Minneapolis, Minnesota a budding celebrity is making her mark.

“I post my videos on TikTok. I usually post about one every day or two,” Dr. Rose Marie Leslie says.

TikTok, for those who’ve never heard of it, is a social media site that’s very popular among teens and young adults.

Dr. Leslie, 29, heard about the video platform through a friend and decided to give it a try.

At first, the videos were all about being funny, and poking fun at life, Leslie says.

Her videos attracted a few hundred views at first, but then Leslie started posting about health topics and started sharing more about her life as a medical resident.

“That’s when the videos sort of took off and got a lot more views,” Dr. Leslie says.

She soon realized many of the younger users on TikTok had an interest in health care.

So, she decided to use her new platform to teach them about one of the biggest health problems teens now face, e-cigarettes.

“It’s very relevant right now and it’s affecting a lot of people,” Dr. Leslie says.

Pretty soon her videos went from thousands of views to millions of views.

One video in particular now has more than 3.5 million views.

“The lung x-ray I showed in that video is very worrisome and the visual of that really grabbed people’s attention,” Dr. Leslie says.

The x-ray was released by the CDC and it shows a stark contrast between a healthy set of lungs and a set of lungs of a teenager who was recently hospitalized after vaping.

“Normal lung tissue should be dark like that,” Dr. Leslie says in the video. “But the lungs here are completely whited out on both sides. You can hardly even see the border of the heart. That’s a pretty gnarly chest x-ray.”

The video also brought in millions of likes and thousands of comments.

“I’ve had multiple people contact me directly and say, ‘you know, I’ve decided to quit using e-cigarettes because I’ve seen your videos.’ And one said, ‘I’m going to talk to my dad about this, because he uses e-cigarettes and I’m worried.’ The information is making a lot of people think about the issue differently,” Dr. Leslie says.

Her TikTok profile has nearly 200,000 followers, many of them teens, who statistics show, are more likely to use e-cigarettes.

“I felt like this was a space where there are millions of adolescents who are directly impacted by this and I thought, this might be a good way to reach them,” Dr. Leslie says.

She plans to use her new platform to share even more videos about vaping and other health problems teens face.

Dr. Leslie doesn’t know why her videos are suddenly resonating among young users, but she says it might have something to do with her role as a resident.

She says like many of her viewers she too is still figuring things out.

“I’m in a place where I’m still learning and growing,” Dr. Leslie says.

To find her videos on TikTok, you can find her under the profile @DrLeslie

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