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Increase in vaping among students concerns educators across region

As teen vaping numbers rise, so does the amount of confiscated devices and substances found at Canandaigua Academy — and pretty much any other high school across the country.

The battle is much bigger than what these boxes contain because many teenagers don’t seem to understand or care about what many health experts say are the true dangers that come with these sleek e-cigarettes and other electronic vaping devices — most of which contain the addictive stimulant nicotine.

The nation is in the midst of a deadly drug epidemic, which may be why vaping, the act of inhaling and exhaling vapor produced by e-cigarettes, is somewhat ignored. But many say the habit of vaping, which has been around for years, may be the start of much more and quite possibly a gateway path to illegal drug use in the future.

Recent data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states 1 million teens admitted to vaping without weighing their endangerment mentally or physically. Experts say children who vape have a higher potential risk for using other drugs. According to 2018 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaping increased by 78 percent in grades 9-12 and 48 percent in grades 6-8.

Most of the kids the Daily Messenger talked with at CA said they vape because it’s the “cool thing to do.” And quite honestly, it’s pretty easy to do because the devices are easy to conceal — the new Juuls, a brand of e-cigarettes popular with younger students, look very similar to a common thumb drive.

Canandaigua Academy Principal Vern Tenney said all types of high school students are vaping and they come from “all walks of life.”

“We see athletes, we see popular students, we see individuals, all groups, all cliques — you name it,” Tenney said.

If a student is caught vaping on school property, they face harsh consequences, including parent or guardian notification.

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