VAIL, Ariz. — Pima County is trying to get a grasp on the vaping trend. The health department offered a free class tonight for people to learn about the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes.
County officials said the county falls right in line with the national trends.
"Nationally we're seeing trends youth-use of vaping products. In Pima County, we've seen some significant increase in vaping use as well. And so that's kind of where we're at. But we're seeing those trends statewide, nationally - everywhere," said Lee Itule-Klasen, a program coordinator with the Pima County Health Department.
Eight teenagers in Wisconsin were hospitalized this month for severe lung damage. Children's Hospital Wisconsin said the exact causes of their illnesses are unknown , but each of the teenagers admitted to using a vape weeks before they were hospitalized.
As vaping use continues to grow even in Pima County, Itule-Klasen said comprehensive outreach and education is key in providing the public with the knowledge to make healthier decisions.
"With young people using those products, and the potential for nicotine addiction and for nicotine to rewire your brain, it can happen for a young person very fast because a young person's brain continues to develop up until the age of 21 to 25, typically," said Itule-Klasen.
To help get the word out on the dangers that come with vaping, the health department has several community partners. For tonight's free class, it linked with the Vail School District, since parents and guardians have expressed interest in learning more about the trend.
"Some of the parents have even come to us, to the SRO officer, and have said, 'I'd like to learn more about vaping. What is it that I'm looking for?' So we're trying to answer that," said Mark Tate, with the Vail School District governing board.
Visit pima.gov/realdeal to read more on what the county is doing to combating vaping use among teens.