News10NBC Investigates: How parents can spot deceitful vapes
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — One in 10. That’s the number of teens who use tobacco.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released that data this month. There’s one product teens use more than any other.
The vast majority of kids who use tobacco are vaping. And of those who vape, almost 90% report using flavored vapes, many of which are fruity or candy flavored.
Because of the appeal to kids, New York State banned flavored vapes.
However, in Deanna Dewberry’s investigation, she found they’re still widely available here. She had no trouble buying a candy-flavored vape juice right here in Rochester.
You don’t have to scroll for long on TikTok to find countless videos where vaping teens re-enact situations, likely happening in homes across the country.
A clueless mom asks her vaping teen, why does it smell fruity in your room? The fact that fruity vapes are often fragrant and easy to hide is part of their appeal.
News10NBC interviewed a teen who vapes. Let’s call her Kim, to protect her identity. Kim is 13, and has been vaping since she was 10. And she says now, she’s hooked.
Kim: “Cigarettes were more nasty, and they left a smell on me. And would get me in trouble more.
Deanna Dewberry, News10NBC: “And vaping, they didn’t smell. Yeah. So that was the primary reason for switching?
Deanna: “Do you have withdrawal? What does that feel like?
Kim: “I get really hot and, like, overly sweaty and, like, really anxious and really stressed out. Like, I get aggravated really easily.”
She’s not unique. That’s why Penfield and most of the high schools across our area have an addiction prevention counselor, like Evan Galusha. He and principal Leanna Watt are tackling the youth vaping crisis head-on.
“By the time students get to the high school, we’re seeing some students that are highly addicted already and are not able to sustain time in the classroom setting or elsewhere without feeling the urge to use,” Watt explans.
To make their jobs even more difficult, some e-cigs are designed to deceive even the most observant adult. So which of these products is a vape? So Evan is at the high school daily. His advice for parents?
“Stay educated,” he says. “Constantly communicate with your kids. In my work, the kids that have had the most success in either reducing or quitting their use, this isn’t true of all of them, but a big chunk of them felt like they could involve their parents in the process.”
But he’s the first to acknowledge the high nicotine content in some e-cigs makes quitting especially hard. For example, according to the CDC, the Elf Bar is the most popular vape among teens.
The Elf Bar BC5000 has 50 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of vape liquid. Since there are 13 milliliters, let’s multiply 13 times 50. That’s 650 milligrams of nicotine — roughly the equivalent of 650 cigarettes. Though experts disagree about how much nicotine is absorbed by the body with each puff.
Kim: “Like, I don’t want to continue doing it. It’s definitely really bad for my body and I know that. But it’s hard to stop something when you’re addicted to it.”
Deanna: “So I am going to ask you a question, not as a reporter, but as a mom. If I gave you resources to help you quit, would you try to quit?”
Kim: “Yeah. Definitely. Yeah.”
Deanna: “You know mama Dew is gonna follow up!”
Clearly, the laws aren’t enough to keep this out of the hands of teens. It’s largely up to us as parents.
Here are some links to a wealth of resources to help you and your teenager:
- Vape Escape, a program though URMC to help teens stop vaping is happening now. Registration is now open.
- UofR Dependence Treatment Program
- How to Quit Vaping from smokefree.gov
- CDC’s basic info on e-cigarettes
- Five tips for handling withdraw from Truth Initiative
- ‘What is an e-cigarette?’ from the American Lung Association
- Truth Initiative’s “This is Quitting’