UK students talk to local high schoolers about harmful effects of vaping

BELL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - The Middlesboro High School Youth Service center hosted University of Kentucky students to talk about the array of harmful effects vaping can cause.

Students said they are concerned with the number of e-cigarettes they see in schools and how easily they are concealed.

"Well you see most kids that have long sleeves on, they just put it in their hoodie pocket. It's easy to hide because they can put it wherever they want to," said freshman student Gretchen Hawk.

School officials say as more e-cigarettes are targeted to their students' age group, it is becoming an increasing problem.

Some of the examples given were color advertising, young people shown in advertising, items like look like school supplies, and especially, candy flavorings.

That is why the administration says they have decided to treat vaping with the same disciplinary action as tobacco products.

"We don't know what it is doing to their bodies and they don't either. So it's a scary thing for us, as adults, to monitor our kids. And protect them as much as we can," said Principal Bobby Bennett.

Bennett says some of the products look like flash drives or pens, which makes it hard for adults to catch.

Student Hayley Leach, from the University of Kentucky, came to talk to students about those trends and how they are affecting teens and young adults.

"These presentations are so important because not only do they talk about the negative health consequences, the financials, and the consequences of addiction. But, our program really focuses on that empowerment piece," said Leach, who serves as a "#iCANendthetrend" College Ambassador. "This is a trend we can reverse if students are open to having conversations with their peers about the negative health consequences."

Some of the consequences Leach discussed were cancer-causing chemicals, "popcorn lung," and thousands of dollars spent on e-cigarettes each year.

Students and their parents are encouraged to text "QUIT" to (202) 804-9884, to help with addiction stemming from vaping.

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