Vaping still trending among teens: Lexington group trying to change that

The American Heart Association hosted a panel on e-cigarettes and their use among teens. (WKYT)
The American Heart Association hosted a panel on e-cigarettes and their use among teens. (WKYT)(WKYT)
Published: Dec. 10, 2019 at 6:21 PM EST
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Numbers released from the CDC last week show more than 2,200 people hospitalized with lung injuries connected to vaping.

Researchers say a growing number of users are teenagers. A quarter of teenagers say they've used e-cigarettes.

It's a habit that is becoming increasingly common among high school students.

The American Heart Association hosted a panel in Fayette County Tuesday morning on e-cigarettes and their use among teens.

"We found that about one in four incoming college students were currently using Juul. One brand of e-cigarette," said Dr. Melinda Icke.

Healthcare professionals talked about getting teens to understand what it meant to get addicted to nicotine.

"There are drug issues in the school but Juuling and vaping is the single most drug issue in schools right now. It is an epidemic and it happened almost overnight," said Health and Wellness Coordinator Debbie Boian.

Dunbar student Alex Smith said those products were easy to get, with students who were 18 buying them and binging them to school to be sold to others.

"It’s really easy to hide and right now it’s really easy to get. And nobody understands that it’s bad for you I guess," said Smith.

She said in some cases, she had classmates whose parents didn't have a problem with them using e-cigarettes.

"How do we get the parents to understand it is their right in their job to be a little bit invasive, to go in and go through their kid's stuff because these things are so easy to hide," said Lexington Catholic's Johnathan Kincheloe.

The long term effects of those devices haven't been discovered, but as more teens take up e-cigarettes they could be.

"The community is really focused on opioids and they should be. Opioids are a problem. But it is not a youth problem. What I’m afraid we are doing is putting out a fire but there’s a bomb ticking behind us," said Boian.

It's enough of an issue the American Heart Association plans to spend $20 million reaching the impact of e-cigarettes on the heart.

Two school systems in Kentucky, Fayette and Bullitt, have filed suit against Juul accusing them of marketing to children.

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