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School liaison officer: vaping is an epidemic

MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW)– School Liaison officers at D.C. Everest are calling vaping an epidemic. Not only is it something they struggle with at the district, but they said it’s an issue for schools across the country.

According to Officer Frank Wierzbinowski, 1 in 14 middle school students have used vaping products. At the high school level, he said about 25% of the students have vaped.

“We see it on a daily basis or a weekly basis,” Wierzbinowski said.

He said part of the problem is that the products are targeted toward kids by using colorful labeling and flavors. But he said the marketing shouldn’t distract from the dangers.

Not only do products like Juul contain a high amount of nicotine, officials are also worried about what else kids are using e-cigarettes for.

“Vaping is the gateway to get the user to inhale any kind of drug they want,” said Jenna Flynn with the Marathon County Health Department.

Officer Wierzbinowski said he’s heard of kids using dab in e-cigarettes to get a high. Dab is a concentrated cannabis product.

Officials are now encouraging parents to talk to their kids about vaping. They also say it’s important for parents to educate themselves on the different products out there.

If you’re looking for resources to help teens quit smoking, you can go to the Tobacco Free Coalition of Central Wisconsin.

Sarah McGrew

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