Parents warned to watch out for teen vaping as school year starts

Parents warned to watch out for teen vaping as school year starts
Teen vaping is something to look out for as school year starts (Source: WFIE)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - E-cigarette use is on the rise among teens, and it’s something parents will want to watch out for as children head back to class.

It’s a trend that has been in the headlines for the past few weeks and is troubling doctors and school administrators.

“They’re calling it and marketing it as a safe alternative, when we know that’s not true," said Dr. Dhruvin Mehta, a third year resident at Deaconess Hospital’s Family Medicine branch. “I think it’s going to grow and I think as health care agencies, as health care providers, we need to talk with them before it gets to big.”

The data backs up Dr. Mehta’s fear.

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of high school students vaping sky rocketed 78% from 2017-2018. Middle School vapers also increased by 48%.

Dr. Mehta says the nicotine in e-cigs, like normal cigarettes, can change the way the brain develops at a young age.

“It causes them to have different synapses built in the brain leading them to be more addiction driven rather than attention, focus, memory. It actually takes away from that," Dr. Mehta said.

Jason Woebkenberg, the chief communication’s officers with the EVSC, says e-cigarettes and vaping are points of discussion for school administrators and teachers.

“If we see it, it is not allowed and we would deal individually with a student, bring their parents in, and keep those lines of communication open," Woebkenberg said.

It’s having those lines of communication that can be vital to delivering an accurate message about the dangers of e-cigarettes, according to Dr. Mehta.

“It should be an age appropriate talk, and there’s different situations where parents can bring this up. For instance, if they see somebody else doing this that would be a good time to kind of talk to the children: ‘What do you think about that?’ ‘What do you know about this?’ ‘Have you tried this before.’”

Woebkenberg reiterated that smoking of any kind, including vaping and e-cigs, is not allowed on EVSC property.

Vaping has been a topic on capitol hill within the last couple of weeks. In November, the FDA announced that it would start the process to limit the sales of flavored e-cigarettes to young people.

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