Bellevue schools addressing increase in student vaping: ‘It’s a real problem’

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- The Bellevue School District is working to make parents aware of the fast spreading trend of e-cigarettes among teenagers, before it affects their families.

Thursday, Bellevue school officials held a presentation at Sammamish High School for parents to address the dangers of teenage vaping.

It’s a trend that is spreading through schools, leading to a massive uptick in youth tobacco use across the country.

“It happens everywhere you can imagine,” said Xavier Cruz. “It doesn’t make me happy, I don’t want that in my learning environment.”

Cruz is a junior at Sammamish High School. He is working to make parents aware of how fast vaping is spreading through his school.

He spoke during Thursday’s parent presentation on e-cigs.

“It’s a real problem, and it’s affecting real people,” he said.

Cruz says the e-cigs his classmates use are so discreet teachers do not even realize when students are using them. He says people will hide them in their sleeves of their book bags, take a hit, and then blow the vapor back into their sleeves or bags.

“We’ve really seen a large increase in the instance of students using e-cigarettes and vaping equipment in our schools. I think it took everyone by surprise,” said Carrie Lang.

Lang is the Director of Special Education for Health Services in the Bellevue School District. She also spoke during Thursday’s presentation to parents. She says it’s a problem that more and more parents need to educate themselves on.

“We find that parents don’t have any idea their students are vaping, juuling, or using e-cgs at all. It’s very easy to hide, it looks like electronic equipment. It smells fruit flavor it doesn’t have that usual combustible cigarette smell. We’re really trying to empower parents to get involved in their kids’ lives more and ask questions about it,” said Lang.

The goal of these presentations is to get ahead of the issue, before vaping becomes a problem for families.

It's something Cruz says unfortunately is already happening to many of his fellow classmates.

“It’s messed up; it’s addictive,” he said. “Be aware of what’s happening and educate yourself the best you can,” he added.

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