Hear from Michigan teens weighing in on vaping

Posted at 3:29 PM, Oct 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-11 15:29:01-04

Vaping has become a hot topic both nationwide and right here in Michigan.

Part of the conversation involves the rise of teen vaping, so 7 Action News wanted to hear straight from teens just how prevalent vaping is in high school.

“I’d say it is pretty prevalent, I’d say anywhere from a quarter to a third of the kids here probably have actually do or did,” said Connor Johns.

Students at Novi High School sat down with 7 Action News reporter Ali Hoxie to answer some questions.

They were up to speed with the recent illnesses and deaths associated with vaping. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , there has been 1,080 lung injury illnesses accosted with using e-cigarettes.

The group of students also knew about the recent emergency ban stopping the sales of flavored vaping products in the state of Michigan. Governor Gretchen Whitmer called for the ban, stating the flavored vaping products are being marketed towards teens.

“I think it’s a step, but I think maybe it’s a step in the wrong direction, I think maybe making it harder to get the vaping tool is probably a better step to remove that,” said senior Puneet Bansao.

This particular group of teens said they do not vape, but know how easy it is for their friends who do vape to get their hands on vaping products.

“A lot of people say they just like go into the vape shop and ask and they don’t even like ID,” said senior Sean Molloy.

They also said it is easy to get vaping products from gas stations, convenience stores, using fake IDs and getting the products through people of legal age.

“Athletes, book people, all different kinds of people are,” said Johns about how all different kinds of students vape.

These students believed part of the issue is that no one ever talked to them about vaping. Unlike the conversations adults usually have with teens about the dangers of alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.

“Cause I know in none of our health classes, we haven’t learned about vaping or anything yet, it is not in the curriculum yet,” said junior Kusumita Paladugu.

“They just think like 'oh it is not bad,' but like cigarettes they know a lot of kids like don’t do because they know it is bad,” said senior Mason Stroman.

Paladugu and Stroman said those conversations are not happening inside school, and they are also not happening between parents and teens.

According to U.S Department of Health and Human Services , the number of teens vaping has continued to increase over time. A 2018 survey conducted with more than 44,000 students found 28% of high school seniors vaped in 2017, and the number increased to 37% in 2018.

This group believes it is easy for teens to vape and go undetected.

The flavored products like bubblegum or mango give off the smell of the flavor, unlike the sometimes potent smell of cigarette smoke. The smoke from vaping dissipates faster than the smoke from cigarettes. There is a term called “ghosting” were the smoker can swallow the vape smoke, making it easy to go undetected. The products used for vaping, like the vape pens and cartridges are small, making them easy to hide.

“In terms of a parent actually trying to figure out if their kid is vaping or not, there is not much to go off of to be honest,” said Paladugu.

Since detection of vaping is difficult, these teens suggest parents do their research. The research should include viewing imagines of what vaping products look like, including vaping pens and cartridges. According to these students, the popular vaping brands teens are using are Sauron and Juul.

Another great way to find out more about vaping: having a conversation with your child.

“If you find out and you sit down and talk to them about it, it’s going to have more of an impact,” said senior Mukund Jayaraju.