Liberty Co. officials seeing more teens vaping, starting tobacco screenings early

Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 4:07 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2023 at 6:48 PM EST
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LIBERTY COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - According to the CDC’s latest data, around 2.5 million teenagers in the United States use e-cigarettes, known as vapes.

It’s a widespread issue and one that both health and school officials are keeping an eye on.

A Liberty County nurse practitioner says that kids are vaping at younger and younger ages. Because of that, they now start asking tobacco screening questions to patients before they’re even teenagers.

“We actually ask our kids, starting at the age of 12, have you been smoking, have you been vaping? It starts early now,” said Brittany Frasier, who is a nurse practitioner at Phillips Pediatrics.

And with the vaping, the long-term health effects, like asthma, COPD, and even heart problems start to set in.

Kids and teenagers don’t always understand how vaping could affect their health so the Liberty County School System is making a point to show them.

“When we do have a student that gets in trouble for vaping, either in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension, they have to immerse themselves in this packet here where they have to read the pitfalls of vaping, and how it can affect you negatively,” said Bradwell Institute Principal Roland Van Horn.

At Bradwell Institute, there are also electronic signs up with facts about the dangers of vaping.

It can be tough to get the point across- especially with vaping products targeted at teenagers.

”Vaping comes in flavors, which is a thing that kids like. They like strawberry, they like grape, they like peach,” said Frasier.

”We’re asking a basic question about, ‘Do you know what’s inside of this?’ that you’re taking into your lungs, and a lot of students don’t know what’s inside that, and really want to make a good choice and resist the peer pressure,” said Van Horn.

Since implementing the anti-vaping measures, Van Horn says disciplinary incidents involving vapes at Bradwell Institute have gone down.

Frasier says parents of teenagers should pay special attention to how their children are behaving, and if you have any concerns about their health, take them to a doctor.