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Teens urge other teens to stop vaping

Spreading the word on e-cig dangers
Posted at 7:12 AM, Mar 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-27 22:09:45-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - They were touted as a way to help adults get off cigarettes but now vaping devices are making it easier -- to get kids hooked on nicotine.

Now Pima County teens are developing their own program -- to snuff out vaping called "The Real Deal on Vaping.

It's a push to apply peer pressure in a positive way.

Students designed a series of images to help convince other students what they may see as the cool culture of electronic cigarettes, is uncool and unhealthy.

They're teaming up with the Pima County School Superintendent and the County Health Department to spread that message.

The effort includes a toolkit to help parents, educators and physicians.

In 2018, an Arizona youth survey showed nearly 47 percent of high school seniors in Pima County had tried an E-cigarrete at least once in their lives.

The Center for Disease Control sent out a report last month and found teens are using nicotine at almost the same rate as they were 30 years ago.

University High Senior Madeleine Zhenj says she sees classmates sneaking puffs from vape pens all through the school day.

She says, “As an adolescent, as a youth you're in that especially sensitive age where your brain is still developing and then the use of these products could also influence how your brain develops and affects your health."

Research shows nicotine can harm brain development, which is a major concern since the brain develops through the age of 26.

The awareness campaign will also help parents have a conversation with their children about the importance of staying nicotine and tobacco free.

Vaping devices are so easy to hide---about the size of a USB thumb drive that it’s easy to hide them and take a hit when no one will notice.

Besides the small size of the vapes, there's the large pull of advertising that tells kids vapes deliver something different from smoky, smelly tobacco, when the reality is they're still inhaling nicotine, even if it's flavored to taste more like candy.

Amphi School Superintendent Todd Jaeger says: "And what we have to get kids to understand is the damage its doing to their bodies, damage it's doing to the futures. The interference it's already having with kids in terms of very education that we're suspending kids at times for this kind of behavior."

And students say vapes can deliver more than nicotine, they can be an inconspicuous way to ingest marijuana too.