Advocates warn about e-cigarette dangers as students head back to the classroom

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it is not ready to decide if e-cigarette maker Juul should stay on the market, but it did reject the applications of 950,000 e-cigarettes and related products.  

“It’s a big problem these devices are highly addictive,” said Laurie Rubiner with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. She says flavored e-cigarettes “come in 15,000 kid-friendly flavors,” targeting underage teens. 

Anti-vaping advocates fear the problem may increase with kids back in school.

“They can put them in their backpack and smoke them in the schools, you can’t really smell them, they are not like combustible cigarettes,” advocates say.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is partnering with middle school principals to raise awareness. 

“What I realize is our middle schoolers are being sucked in by these goofy flavors, cotton candy and it’s the nicotine that keeps them doing it more and more,” said Gregg Wieczorek with the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Rubiner warns parents, 3.6 million kids use e-cigarettes, including 1 in 5 high school students. This a problem she says often starts in middle school.      

“We see this as a huge threat to our students and their success in the future,” said Wieczorek.

The goal of the partnership is to open the lines of communication on the dangers of e-vaping.  

“The big one is communication, communicating with the parents,” said Wieczorek. “One of the things we’ve done at my school is taken some of our seniors and take them back to their middle school where they were heroes and they talk about why they shouldn’t do it to the 6th and 7th graders and 8th graders.”

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