Rise of student vaping catches attention of Board of Education

Local News

Vaping has become a popular alternative to cigarettes for young people.

On Tuesday, the Kansas State Board of Education discussed vaping and e-cigarette use in students..

The 2017 Kansas Youth Risk Factors Survey found one in three Kansas high school students have tried vaping, and one in 10 use an e-cigarette regularly.

“We’ve seen less chewless tobacco, fewer cigarettes, but we’re seeing a lot more vape devices,” said Jim Holloman, principal at Royal Valley High School in Hoyt.

He said the amount of e-cigarettes he’s confiscated this year is up from years past.

“Something that’s more challenging than anything we’ve faced before because kids can be so sneaky with it, it’s hard to catch,” said Holloman.

Local health officials said people’s brains can develop until age 25, and putting chemicals like nicotine into a young person’s body can negatively affect that person.

“Learning a new skill or creating a new memory, the nicotine interacts and alters that connection and it can lead to learning disabilities, depression, anxiety,” said Shawnee County Health Department Promotion Coordinator Amanda Monhollon.

Even though in the state of Kansas you must be at least 18 to legally own one of the devices, students are getting their hands on e-cigarettes much earlier.

“It’s not just in our middle schools and high schools, we’ve seen some instances where it’s gotten in our elementary schools as well,” said Monhollon.

 Holloman said that’s a problem he has had to deal with too.

“There is an acceptance out there that this is okay, and I think that’s what bothers me more than anything,” he said.

Monhollon said manufacturers make flavors especially attractive to young people, making it harder for them to resist.

The Shawnee County Health is teaming up with local schools forcing Resist groups. In the groups, student leaders can teach their peers about the potential dangers of vaping.

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