New research shows nearly one-third of high school seniors are vaping in Winnebago County


WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WREX): Juuling, vaping, smoking an e-cigarette, no matter what you call it, doctors say it’s bad for you.

“We did a good job over the past 10 and 20 years to decrease smoking, cigarette smoking, traditional smoking, but this is now unfortunately defeating what we did,” SwedishAmerican Pulmonologist Dr. Yaser Zeater said.

It’s also illegal for people under the age of 18, but that hasn’t stopped the vaping trend from becoming popular with teenagers.

“Nationally we’re seeing an increase as well, state level as well, when it comes to that e-cigarette use or vaping,” Winnebago County Health Department’s Tobacco Control Specialist Alisen O’Hearn said.

A new study released by the Illinois Youth Survey shows nearly one-third of high school seniors in Winnebago County report using vaping products in the past year. In that same survey, 26 percent of high school seniors in Stephenson county said they had used vaping products, as well. That’s a big concern for doctors, who say vaping can have serious health impacts later in life.

“It has other chemicals proven to be causes of cancer,” Dr. Zeater said.

E-cigarettes also contain nicotine, which health experts say can be a common misconception, especially among teens.

“There’s different types of vaping products, so someone might use a Juul, which has as much nicotine a a pack of cigarettes,” O’Hearn said.

And for young people, it’s not just the nicotine that can be addictive.

“The taste inside it makes it enjoy it,” Dr. Zeater said. “You like sugar, you like mint, and we use gum for that, they have those flavors, so they have other things to do more of e-cigarettes.”

Making e-cigarettes a popular, but dangerous trend. And one health experts say the community need to address.

“Something has to be done to prevent this before it gets out of hand,” Dr. Zeater said.

In 2016, the CDC found 2 million middle and high school students reported using vaping products in the past 30 days. E-cigarettes are considered the most popular tobacco-product among youth in the U.S.

Taylor Utzig

Taylor Utzig

Reporter

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