Schools warn of vaping, e-cigarette risks

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – It has many names. Vaping, juuling, and modding are just a few. And although you have to be 18 or 21 to buy electronic cigarette and vaping devices, teens are getting their hands on them.

Northern York High School recently sent a letter telling parents “the number of students using these devices has skyrocketed.” The district is not alone.

“Twenty-four percent of high school students use electronic cigarettes. That’s a frightening figure,” said Diane Phillips of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.

Some devices are obvious. Others can be easily hidden. At first glance, they may look like a cell phone or a flash drive.

“They are not harmless and we are particularly concerned about youth using them because they do contain nicotine,” Phillips said. “Nicotine is highly addictive.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the devices generally contain fewer harmful chemicals than smoke from tobacco, but the aerosol can include cancer-causing chemicals and tiny particles that reach deep into the lungs.

“There are some metals in them, like lead,” Phillips said.

The FDA considers the devices to be tobacco products, which is why they are not allowed on school property.

“The fact that a quarter of our students are using this product that contains nicotine and other compounds is alarming,” Phillips said.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says Pennsylvania is above the national average of high school students using e-cigarettes.

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