Teens easily sneaking vapes that look more like everyday items

GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI) – As vaping continues to rise in popularity among teens, the concern over easily concealed e-cigarettes has medical professionals concerned.

Is it a pen or is it a vape? Is it a smart watch or is it a vape? Sounds silly to ask, but these are serious questions to think about when a child’s well-being is at risk.

From vapes that imitate clothing and medical devices to those that double as school supplies.

“They’re very easily hidden,” said Beth Turner, Mississippi University for Women Assistant Professor and Nurse Practitioner.

Vape brands are marketing these smoking products to look like everyday items.

Turner described what teachers and parents should be on the lookout for.

“Students vape in class, according to students I have interviewed and talked to,” said Turner.”Patients will tell me how easy it is to vape, how easy it is to have access to the solutions, to the different types of vapes. They look like little flash drives you put into the computer. They can hide it in their sleeve and pull their sleeve up and vape in the middle of class so there are lots of ways it can be hidden.”

Most e-cigarettes use the drug nicotine as a liquid concentrate. Pediatrician Keith Watson said nicotine negatively impacts the body and mind regardless of age.

“Nicotine is addictive,” he said. “It can be a gateway used to other substances that are harmful. And over-use can cause poor school performance, poor sleep, anxiety, other psychological mental disorders, chronic headaches, chronic fatigue, poor focus, a list of things that can affect the social, behavioral, and even physical health of anybody that uses it whether they’re an adult or teen.”

Mississippi law states no persons under the age of 18 are allowed to buy or use any type of nicotine but the CDC reported one in five teens vape regularly.

The University of California, San Francisco said nicotine has been proven to be just as addictive as cocaine and heroin.

Watson explained how to spot nicotine addiction in kids.

“If they started to report that without it, they can’t go to school, without it, they can’t go to sleep or they constantly feel anxious or nervous without it. That they have to have it to function day to day then you’re in a world of addiction,” said Watson.

Turner said no parent is immune to their children being exposed to vaping and should act now.

“If a parent is naïve and believes that their child or the friend of that child is not vaping then I urge them to educate themselves because the only way really to improve rates is gonna be to educate teens, educate the parents about the risks and about the stats. If parents understand those stats and they know their kids are exposed to it, maybe their kids aren’t vaping but they’re exposed to it. So they need to be talking to their kids now about the risks,” said Turner.

Educational resources on what you can do to help protect our children from the dangers of vaping:




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