DONNELSON, Ia (WGEM) — The Central Lee School District has stepped up efforts to fight the issue of students using e-cigarettes.
Students say the use of e-cigarettes, often called vaping or Juuling, is on the rise at Central Lee schools.
“Yes. In the bathrooms, out in the parking lot, just everywhere,” says Lauren Graber, High School Sophomore.
The FDA believes it’s an epidemic. Graber says she’s worried about the trend.
“Yeah, a little bit because it will destroy our lungs and everything,” says Graber.
The FDA says 3.62 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes last year. New School Resource Officer Tom Obermann has been busy cracking down on students vaping or Juuling.
“Teachers were finding used pods on the floors. The more I got into it, the more I realized it was a bigger problem. Most kids don’t associate this with tobacco or smoking and that’s what it is,” said Obermann.
He says it’s been an issue in the High School, but even a bigger issue in the Middle School. He confiscated one of these devices from a 5th grader.
“One of these pods is 20 cigarettes. The addictive nature is still there,” said Obermann.
Law enforcement says the Juuls are so tiny they are like a USB. All you have to do is put it in your pocket, and no one will know that it’s there.
“You wouldn’t think that this was a device to ingest nicotine with. More education is what is needed at this time,” said Obermann.
He’s been giving lectures to teachers and students. History teacher Charles Banks says Deputy Obermann has
come into his class already and is spreading awareness.
“Frankly, a lot of our students don’t understand the long term consequences as do we. These aren’t sanctioned by the FDA,” said Obermann.
Deputy Obermann says he has attended conferences to learn more about the effects of Juuling. The state has created a program called I-PLEDGE to spread awareness and Obermann says he is being more proactive by doing more in the DARE program in the middle school.
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