Surgeon General says underage vaping is an epidemic

Posted at 10:08 PM, Dec 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-18 23:08:53-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The CDC says more than 3.5 million high school and middle school students vaped in the past month, and a growing number are using Juul. "One Juul pod is equivalent to 200 puffs of a cigarette and that's equivalent to one pack of cigarettes," said nurse practitioner at Nebraska Medicine Chalco Immediate Care Clinic, Erin Thoman.

Omaha high school students say they don't have to look far to see it, ""we mostly see it in the bathrooms. lunchrooms, if a teacher is away we'll see it there," said Burke High School sophomore, Anna Anthony.

Experts say there are many reasons teens are drawn to vaping. "One there is some flavoring in it so it doesn't seem as risky as cigarettes, it's also easier to hide from parents cause sometimes they look like a USB drive rather than actual cigarettes," said Thoman.

Researchers are still looking in to the long-term effects of vaping. However, we do know the nicotine in e-cigarettes is highly addictive and could cause life-long problems. "The brain actually isn't done developing until the early to even mid-20s so even through age 25 our brain is still developing and any nicotine use can affect the brain development," said Thoman.

Some students say more can be done to keep it out of schools. "I think we should have more rules on it because I think there are more rules about smoking weed compared to vaping and I think more kids vape than smoke weed," said Burke High School sophomore, Jordan Reavis.