SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Thursday afternoon local law enforcement officials along with the Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody discussed e-cigarette usage among teens at Riverview High School.
They talked about why more teens have started to use electronic cigarettes, where teens are learning about vaping, and how they are getting these products.
"The increase in prevalence we see has jumped about 700% in middle school and high school kids. These things are not safe. They’re really touted as sort of this alternative to smoking and the reality is that they’re just not safe," said Amie Miller who is a Nurse Practitioner at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
Miller is with the hospital’s Lung Cancer Screening Program. “This is very harmful to an adolescents developing brain. We know brains develop until the age of 25 so this really effects the development of these brains,” she added.
The Surgeon General has called e-cigarette use in teens an epidemic. More on their report can be found here.
“When kids use electronic devices and that get addicted to nicotine at these high levels early on, it really sets them up for further nicotine addiction throughout the rest of their life which means smoking regularly tobacco products,” Miller said.
Miller said one of the biggest things parents can do is become educated and talk to their children about the harmful effects associated with vaping and e-cigarette usage.
Tobacco-Free Partnership of Sarasota County is a local program at work to educate and bring programs to teens and students. More on that group can be found here.