By Alex Peebles Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) – According to the FDA, 1.3 million more high school students use e-cigarettes now than in 2017. In just one year, even middle schools have seen an increase in vaping by 48 percent.
Although this study was done at the national level, this is a growing problem locally. David Graf, teacher at Port Byron Senior-High School, has seen the growing trend of teens vaping in school first hand.
“To throw some numbers at you I think I had 80 kids in 9th grade, and I probably had 10 that were suspended outside of school, for vaping in school” Graf said. “Even in just my two years there, from year one to year two, like year two it became a major, major problem I don’t know that I had any [students] in my first year get suspended.”
Graf went on to say that many schools districts in the area have decided to keep bathrooms locked in an effort to keep students from vaping in school.
Many health risks surrounding vaping are still unknown, however; the health risks that come with nicotine – which is found in e-cigarettes – are known.
In a phone conversation Rebecca Shultz, Director of Community Health at the Onondaga County Health Department, spoke about how nicotine usage by teenagers may result in long term effects.
“It’s essentially the nicotine that’s found in the e-cigarette products that can harm developing brains among adolescence,” Shultz said. “Generally brain development continues until about age 25, so people who are younger than that who use these products are at risk of impacting that brain development.”
State lawmakers signed a bill in July 2019 to increase the smoking age from 18 to 21 in efforts to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of teens. This change is expected to take place in November 2019.