PETROLIA (KFDX/KJTL) — Just eight days into the school year, officials with the Petrolia CISD have confiscated multiple vaping devices and are asking parents to help solve this growing problem.
According to a video posted on Petrolia CISD, one student had two devices, and their parents didn’t know the student had them or what the devices were used for until the student confessed to having the vaping devices.
“We just want to make you aware of an issue that we have at school that’s nationwide and it’s with vaping,” the administrator in the video said. “Folks, this is a problem. You may think you’re kids are not doing this or it’s not doing them any harm, but you need to know it is a problem and they can buy it anywhere.”
Of the three devices confiscated, one is a watch that has been modified to contain a vaping mechanism.
“It’s amazing at what lengths people will go to to hide things,” Hedges said. “That led to going ahead and uploading so parents could see what the devices looked like especially after finding the watch.”
The video has 6.8 million views after only four days up being uploaded, and Hedges said he was blown away by the reaction and how quickly the video spread on social media.
“I am amazed. I know the power of social media was huge, but I never dreamed it was anything like that,” Hedges said.
Although the video shows a variety of devices, Hedges main concern is the devices that aren’t screened properly or regulated.
“Our whole point behind the video was to inform parents so they could help us help their kids so that the kids don’t get hurt because they’ve got a defective device, one that’s came across the border that hasn’t had any regulation or if they get a laced pod or cartridge,” Hedges said. “Our intent behind the video is not to hurt vape shops, not to hurt business, but our intent is to inform the parents so they know what to look for with their teenagers.”
Hedges said this issue isn’t limited to just high school.
“We’ve got kids all the way down in the fifth grade admitting they’ve vaped,” Hedges said. “You’ve got to be diligent. Times have changed from when I was in school. We didn’t have internet, we didn’t have cell phones. We’ve got kids telling us they just go down to the corner and they get a prepaid MasterCard/Visa and they’re ordering things off the internet having them shipped to their friends’ house or they’re buying them from somebody else. Be diligent with your kids and what they do with their money.”
Through this entire incident, Hedges said he and the Petrolia ISD officials only have kids’ best interest at heart.
“We just want our kids to be safe. I’m not saying they’re not going to try things,” Hedges said. “All through history kids have tried drinking, they’ve tried smoking, they’ve tried tobacco, they’ve tried drugs, but they need to know these e-cigs, if they don’t use them appropriately, they don’t get ahold of the right ones, they can be dangerous.
While faculty and staff can only do so much, Hedges said they hope parents will help them end this increasing issue.
“Folks, this is an issue, and we need your help,” Hedges said. “It is against the law, and at school, if we find it, it’s ISS for possession, and if we catch you using it, it’s additional ISS and it could be criminal charges.”
A Growing Issue Nationwide
According to Angelica LaVito with CNBC, the market-leading e-cigarette company JUUL stopped selling fruity flavors of nicotine pods in retail stores last fall amid pressure from the Food and Drug Administration to stem what it declared an “epidemic” of teen vaping. Yet mango, fruit and creme pods continue to line store shelves — presumably many of them fake.
Officials with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 200 potential vaping-related illnesses in 22 states have been reported as of Aug. 22.
“Counterfeit products are a direct threat to public health and our plan to combat youth usage,” Juul CEO Kevin Burns said in a statement to CNBC, adding that “other companies are aggressively and illegally selling counterfeit ‘JUULpods’ in the very flavors we stopped shipping, which are made with unknown ingredients and under unknown quality and manufacturing standards.”
- READ MORE: Fake Juul pods line store shelves, worrying users and posing another threat to the embattled company
Fake Juul pods line store shelves, worrying users and posing another threat to the embattled company
To further educate and explain the effects of e-cigarettes, vaping and other alternative nicotine devices, the CDC issued a few tips when dealing with e-cigarettes.
- E-cigarettes have the potential to benefit adult smokers who are not pregnant if used as a complete substitute for regular cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products.
- E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
- While e-cigarettes have the potential to benefit some people and harm others, scientists still have a lot to learn about whether e-cigarettes are effective for quitting smoking.
- If you’ve never smoked or used other tobacco products or e-cigarettes, don’t start.
- Additional research can help understand long-term health effects.