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Teens who vape at school know its ‘not allowed in our building’

ALPENA, Mich. – E–cigarettes are the latest fad among teens, but the government is calling it a national epidemic. Alpena High School administrators say they’ve noticed an uptick in students vaping on campus, so they’re doing something about the crisis here at home.

One in 5 high school kids currently use e–cigarettes. Right in Alpena, Principal Berriman sees the effects of that in the high school. “Last year we saw a lot of the large devices, now we’re seeing the smaller credit card sized and USB sized vapes that we’re seeing now,” he said.

Most kids have no idea what they’re blowing. The CDC says nicotine can harm parts of the brain that control learning, focus level, and mood.

“The problem with e–cigarettes in children is that it leads them toward cigarette smoking,” said respiratory doctor Daniel Maxwell of MidMichigan Health.  He said there are cancer causing agents in e-cigarette devices and “that’s bad enough.”

Whenever the school confiscates an e–cigarette, vape or pod, it goes right into the school’s vault room and inside of a designated shoe box. Students have been caught smoking inside school buses, classrooms and bathrooms.

“Going into this year, we started educating our staff on what to look for, what it is,” said Berriman. The kids know the school’s policy on tobacco products. “They’re not allowed in our building.”

WBKB reached out to the smoke and vape shops in town but they declined to be interviewed.

There’s not enough data on what’s going to happen decades from now, but it’s safe to say, “it’s not going to be as good as breathing fresh clean air,” said Maxwell.

The school is slated to hold a parent meeting come late winter to discuss a lot of the things impacting students — not just e–cigarettes.