Electronic cigarettes, a smoking alternative advertised for its fun flavors, is now finding its way into classrooms.
“I knew about them I just didn't know they were brining them to school,” said Alisa Johansson, a parent.
E-cigarettes, a device that vaporizes flavored liquid nicotine have become more popular than traditional cigarettes in at least one Utah school district.
“We're seeing it more in our middle schools than high schools,” said Jeffrey Christensen, Coordinator of Policy and Student Discipline at Canyons School District. “Between 20 to 25 instances of E-cigarettes this year alone.”
It's not just a trend in the Canyons District. Statewide, the number of 8th, 10th and 12th grade students who have experimented with E-cigarettes in the past 90 days has doubled in just two years and the number of youth who have used one within the past 30 days has tripled,” according to the Utah Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.
Part of the problem may be accessibility. The legal age to purchase E-cigarettes in Utah is 19. IDs are checked in stores, but not online where teens can not only buy them, but buy them in disguise.
“They can look like a pen,” said Christensen. “It can essentially be hidden.”
Bringing them to school is a violation of the Utah Clean Air Act and Canyons is cracking down.
“We're essentially giving them a ticket and they’re going directly to the court system,” said Christensen.
As a parent, Johansson says the education needs to start at home. “I think parents need to be more in tune with this,” she said.