ERIE, Pa. -       The use of vaping devices has skyrocketed in middle and high schools in the past couple years.  Local principals from a wide variety of schools all agree, that it’s a major problem.  They deal with this on a daily basis, and are increasing hall and bathroom patrols.   They’re also educating their teachers about what to look for.  Our local principals also communicate quite often to share ideas, and are handling the vaping infractions the same way.   General McLane High School Principal Dan Mennow says, when students are caught, they confiscate the vaping device.   Parents have to come in to the school to claim it, and the school files with the District Justice.   It’s considered a tobacco violation, which includes a $50 fine, and a Saturday detention.

      Vaping pods contain nicotine.   One of the most popular vaping devices, the Juul, contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, and teens get addicted. In most states, stores are not permitted to sell vaping devices to anyone under the age of 18, so how do so many young teens have them?   A local high school student says, kids buy from older students who are 18, and in some instances, parents will buy them.   

       The Juul is especially appealing to kids because of its high tech appearance, its ability to hide in plain sight because it looks like a flash drive, and it has a pleasant smell and flavor.  The pods are available in flavors like mango, berry, mint, and crème brulee.  

        Niki Knopsnyder of the Erie County Health Department says, the biggest problem is that we really don’t know what’s in the products.   Vaping devices have just recently come under FDA control, and they’re still trying to determine how to deal with it and develop plans to regulate the devices.