Teens and vaping: an epidemic in West…


ODESSA/MIDLAND (KMID/KPEJ) — “Its kind of an oh, I’m in a group, you’re trying it, let me try it.”

Teens and vaping… Its become an epidemic and all to common now in schools too.

There are many ways young students are getting their hands onto vapes.

The Odessa Police Department says they do respond to vape calls for underage teens frequently.

“We respond to these incidents on a regular basis, but what the public doesn’t know is its much more serious than you think,” said Steve Lesueur with OPD.

Officers say typically, vaping is only the start, and that it can open the door for eventual drug use.

A big aspect of vaping, is that there’s still so many unknowns when it comes to chemicals being put in our bodies.

“There’s a lot of things out, there’s a lot of generic things out there, and the kids don’t realize how serious these things are. And a lot of the parents don’t realize their kids are involved with it.” said Lesueur.

“Those vape cartridge’s have anywhere, from a pack to a a pack an a half, even 2 packs of cigarettes,” said Sara Hinshaw. She’s the Program Director for the Permian Basin Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. She says that a lot of prevention work starts at home.

“A lot of times they’re buying these vapes or getting them from friends and through their apps,” said Hinshaw. “Stats show the more you talked to your kids about this type of use, the less likely they are to use it.”

We spoke with a local high school senior, whose remaining anonymous. He says he remembers the first time he started feeling his health deteriorate after vaping for several years.

“I can kinda tell that this is effecting me, that’s kinda enough,” said the student.

He says you’d be surprised how common vaping is at schools.

“Youd be surprised at the amount of kids that vape at school. There’s some kids that just don’t care, and they just vape in class.”

The student we spoke with got caught vaping at school thanks to a tip from Crime Stoppers. His message to others: its not worth it.

“I had to pay a fine, a hefty fine, that’s why I recommend just not even going thru the trouble.”

He says, along with the fine, he now has to do community service, and an online tobacco course.

“You don’t even have to put yourself through that, you don’t have to, but you’re choosing to,.”

If you are looking to stop vaping or using nicotine products, the Permian Basin Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse has several opportunities and programs to help you quit.

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