As the vaping epidemic continues to spiral, many are focusing on reaching youth. Now that students are back in class, school leaders are driving home a strong message.
“Their health is important to us. We believe that we have students whose parents don’t think that this is a big deal. In fact we have students that say it’s not that big of a deal. But when we are trying to keep our school as healthy as we can, this is one place we have to start,” said Jill Ross, principal of Lake Belton High School.
The growing popularity of vaping knows no borders and is gaining alarming traction. In fact, a recent study tracking thousands of students from hundreds of different schools shows a sharp increase in vaping from 2017 to 2018. Of those surveyed, 37% of high school seniors admitted to vaping within the past within the past year.
Some say marketing could be the root of the problem. Seven in 10 high school students are exposed to vaping advertising.
Meanwhile, the FDA is towing a hard line with the popular vaping manufacturer Juul. On Monday, health officials said the company illegally advertised their product as a safer alternative to cigarettes. The agency threatened to fine or even seize Juul’s products if changes are not made.
Schools are doing their own form of advertising to fight back against marketing to minors.
“We talked about advertising that we need to do, what do we need to do to help kids see that there are options for help and also that vaping is not good for you. It’s not healthy,” said Ross.
Killeen ISD told 25 News they have not seen an issue with vaping, but still acknowledge the dangers.
“As a society, I see that as a problem, as a district, we see that as a problem but we also see educating our children, and the awareness programs being just hand in hand so we’re making sure that they make the right decisions in the end,” said Taina Maya, spokesperson for Killeen ISD.