A group of local high school students are trying to turn their peers off to e-cigarette use
IRONDEQUOIT — Federal authorities say kids are now vaping at record numbers. A group of local high school students is trying to make a dent in the statistics.
The Reality Check Club at Eastridge High School in Irondequoit always encourages students to avoid drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, but this month students are focusing on helping others understand just how dangerous vaping and juuling really are.
Recent data from the FDA shows more than 1 million teens admitted to vaping. Azalia Lugo and Christian Lewis, seniors at Eastridge High are not in that number.
"I think it's concerning for younger kids who don't know a lot about it and they're like 'I want to try it' but they don't know the harm about it," Azalia Lugo said. "I think most kids who do it aren't aware of the effects it can have and they see it more as a toy."
Lugo and Lewis are concerned that vaping is becoming a growing trend in teens.
"I know that it is easy to get," Lewis said. "You can reuse it more than once and I know it's bad because it's similar to vaping and it has nicotine in it."
The Surgeon General calls teen vaping an epidemic. Eastridge Principal Timothy Heaphy sees the same in the greater Rochester area.
"Within the last year or so we're finding more and kids are having problems with this," Heaphy said. "We're finding more and more kids addicted to this, so it's a growing problem."
With flavors like cotton candy, mango and more, Heaphy says e-cig companies are clearly marketing to the younger generation.
"It's about making the kids, parents and staff, knowledgeable about it," Heaphy said. "It's education, education, education as much as possible."
That's the idea behind "No Juul January." Students are greeted with posters warning them not to vape, and Lugo and Lewis continue spreading the word to discourage e-cigs.
"Hey you're probably not going to live as long as you want to doing that because your lungs aren't going to develop or anything," Lugo said.
"You really shouldn't be doing that at school or at all because it's not healthy," Lewis said.
A group of students will travel to Albany next month to lobby lawmakers to create tighter restrictions on tobacco products and e-cigarettes. The Surgeon General is exploring options to help kids who might be addicted to vaping since products to quit smoking have not been tested on teens.