COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As students get ready to go back to school, the talk among some teachers and administrators is how to get students to stop vaping e-cigarettes.
Columbus Public Health and United Healthcare held a workshop Friday on teen vaping.
Health officials said it may be hard to help every teen who is vaping, but it’s important to have a conversation with teens about the dangers of e-cigarettes and the harmful toxins they are putting into their bodies.
E-cigarettes are growing in popularity among teens and young adults.
“We are seeing it as young as sixth grade, around 11 and 12-years-old, all the way up through young adults,” said Elizabeth De Luca-Kontchou, the smoke-free initiative program manager at Columbus Public Health.
She said e-cigarette companies are marketing products to kids and teens as a fun and cool thing to do.
“The big contributor for vapes right now are the flavored products, as well as the novelty and the trendiness of the vapes,” De Luca-Kontchou said.
According to her, the companies are not telling customers about the dangers that come with inhaling their products.
“We have seen youth being hospitalized for high levels of not only nicotine but also marijuana intake,” De Luca-Kontchou said.
Last school year, Licking County School District had three incidents involving vaping.
“If parents are smoking in the home, or if parents are vaping in the home, it seems perfectly normal for them to try,” said Roberta Cozad, middle school principal with Grand Valley Local Schools, located north of Cleveland. “So the struggle comes educating the child.”
Cozad said she has seen students in the fifth grade vaping.
She believes if school administrators are having conversations about the negative effects of vaping, instead of only addressing ti when it becomes a problem in their district, they may be able to keep kids from starting in the first place.
“I just hope that we can start educating the children and teaching them that this nicotine is addictive and it changes the way the brain works,” Cozad said.