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Clearing the air: Healthcare experts say there is a rapid growth of teens vaping

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) - Local lawmakers are taking on teen vaping. A bill working its way through the South Carolina legislature would ban vaping on public school property.

It would also require you to prove you're 18-years-old when you buy E-cigarettes and have them delivered.

Healthcare experts say there is an increase in teenagers vaping. It's a growing issue nationally, which experts say it's becoming an epidemic.

"From a public health perspective we are concerned about the rapidly growing epidemic of E-cigarette use of young people," said Christine O'Meara.

The Georgia Cancer Center reports the use of E-cigarettes among high school students was 20 percent in 2018.

Experts suggest the increase is because teens believe it's a healthy alternative. O'Meara says smoking one Juul pod is the equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes. 

"E-cigarettes contain nano particulars that lodge deep into the lungs," explained O'Meara. "Some of these nano particulars include heavy metals like lead, cadmium, tin, and nickel."

Georgia Cancer Center Director of cancer information & awareness says the exposure to E-cigarette ads plays a pivotal role in tobacco product use among youth.

"We need to inform our store owners, and our gas station owners that our young people are purchasing E-cigarettes illegally," said O'Meara.

One smoke shop employee told NewsChannel 6 reporter Devin Johnson they are taking extra precaution when it comes to selling tobacco products.

"If you want to buy anything from us, you have to have an ID," said Vape Frog sales associate Selena Seabron. "If you don't I have an ID we shoot you right out the door."

Seaborn says it's important for the stores that sell vape products to follow the guidelines

"It's the law, you can't buy anything when you're underage," explained Seaborn.

But it's not just the health risk. O'Meara says smokers need to know that electronic cigarettes can explode. 

"Either in the pocket or even in the users' faces," said O'Meara. "We've seen two deaths of E-cigarette users."

O'Meara adds she will be at Lakeside High school on Wednesday to talk about the dangers of teens vaping. 

Photojournalist: Antony Sherrod


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