teen vaping epidemic

a photo of vaping products
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The local chapter of the American Heart Association says one in four high school students report using an e-cigarette in the past month. The organization hosted a community conversation about the issue Thursday with school administrators and students.  

Addison Johnson, a senior at Akron’s STEM high school, told the Heart Association vaping devices are small and easy to use undetected at school. He also said there’s a misperception among students who use them.

A health-surveillance system put in place after the terrorist attacks of September 2001 has been used to pinpoint the cause of the vaping-related lung injuries that have killed 54 Americans and sent more than 2,500 people to the hospital.

Using this system, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that the lung injuries rose sharply in June of this year.

a photo of protestors
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

On the very day a new excise tax on vapor products went into effect, hundreds gathered for a rally at the Ohio Statehouse. Meanwhile, Gov. Mike DeWine called for new changes.

Among the vaping supporters was Amber Storer of Batavia near Cincinnati, who said flavored vaping products helped her kick cigarettes.

“I smoked for 23 years. I started at 13, and I quit in 2016 using blueberry.”

DeWine said the state is spending $3.3 million on a prevention campaign aimed at young people. And he wants lawmakers to ban flavored vaping products that appeal to kids.

A photo of vaping devices
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The Ohio Department of Health has confirmed at least 20 cases of severe breathing illnesses, mostly in young people. And there are about two dozen more cases being investigated. Gov. Mike DeWine wants to ban flavored e-cigarettes. Now, there’s a bill that would do that.

Kids cannot legally buy vaping products under current law, but State Representative Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) says they are getting flavored vaping products. He wants to ban the sale of flavored vaping e-cigarettes.

Updated 4:01 p.m., Aug. 23, 2019

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) officials are now asking doctors and hospitals to report any cases of patients with serious respiratory problems that could be connected to vaping to their local health department.  

photo of juuls, vaping
ANNA HUNTSMAN / WKSU

A new service launched by the Ohio Department of Health this month offers free, confidential help for people under 18 who are trying to stop using e-cigarettes and tobacco – a growing issue that the Surgeon General is calling an epidemic.

The “My Life, My Quit” initiative is an outgrowth of the Ohio Tobacco Quit phone line for adults. But the new program for teens offers help over the phone, by text or online.

North Newton Junior/Senior High lies in the Northwest corner of Indiana, in a county home to more dairy cows than people.

But students have no problem getting e-cigarettes in all shapes and sizes. Some look like pens, others like computer thumb drives.