COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As the new school year begins, parents have growing concerns over the vaping epidemic.
And now the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the link between vaping and lung disease.
Dangerous, harmful and addictive are three words health officials use to describe vaping.
“It’s a very big concern for us,” parent Lisa Emmerling said.
For parents like Emmerling, she said she knows how popular it has become amongst kids and it’s alarming.
“It’s hidden within the schools. Parents don’t always know about it,” she said.
Sports medicine physician and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Joseph Wilcox describes vaping as an overnight epidemic.
“We are seeing an explosion in the dangerous conditions that go along with vaping and that’s what’s gotten the attention of the CDC,” Wilcox said.
Doctors and health officials are also looking into cases of severe lung damage and breathing problems in more than a dozen states, including Ohio.
“It really seems to be everywhere with population,” Wilcox said.
Wilcox said the nicotine that’s in the product is what makes it such a problem, especially among young people
“It’s at such a concentration that you’re addicted very quickly,” Wilcox said.
Parent Dan Wade believes it’s the way it has been marketed that has made it an issue in schools.
“They have a lot of individuals fooled that’s it’s a safe alternative, but it’s not. It’s not at all,” he said.
We reached out to the electronic cigarette company, JUUL and was given the following statements:
“We selected our nicotine concentrations to provide smokers a satisfying alternative. In terms of actual nicotine absorption, our clinical studies have consistently shown that JUUL use at 5% strengths result in a nicotine uptake similar to, but lower in concentration than, a reference combustible cigarette.”
“JUUL Labs exists to help adult smokers switch from combustible cigarettes, which remain the leading cause of preventable death around the world. JUUL is an alternative that can help the 34 million adults in this country who still smoke. We do not want non-nicotine users to buy JUUL products, and are committed to preventing underage access to our products. We strongly support raising the national minimum purchasing age for all tobacco and vapor products to 21, and have implemented a comprehensive action plan to combat underage access, appeal, and use of JUUL products.
“We stopped the sale of non-tobacco and non-menthol based flavored JUUL pods to our traditional retail store partners last year, enhanced our online age-verification, strengthened our retailer compliance and shut down our Facebook and Instagram accounts while working constantly to remove inappropriate social media content generated by others. We also continue to develop technologies to further restrict underage access with our distributors, at retail establishments and as features of potential new products.”
However, some parents said they think its too late to get kids off the bandwagon.
“They see it as a cool and safe alternative I don’t think they think there is harm with what they are doing,” Wade said.
Wilcox said he has been speaking at several schools about vaping and thinks that’s the only way to try to combat the problem, with education.