SACRAMENTO, Calif. —
Parents and teachers may think they know all they need to know about vaping, but students at Rio Americano High School say that in 2019 this is not the case.
"They know it’s smoking, so they quickly refer it to cigarettes or weed," Shantal Ocampo, a senior, said. "So they know it’s bad, but they don’t really know the extent of it or how much it affects a teenager or a high schooler on a daily basis."
ABC10 brought together six students from Rio Americano to share what students know about vaping and how their perspective differs from their parents, teachers and the nation.
Since vaping gained popularity in 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has seen a rise in usage among teens.
While much of the nation trusts the statistic that 1-in-3 teenagers vape, Michael Porter, a junior, said the rate could be much higher.
"I’d say closer to like 16 out of the 20," Porter said from what he sees as a student in Rio Americano.
Porter also said he saw a rise in the popularity of vaping over the past few years.
"My freshman year there was, I had like one or two friends do it but it was still mostly frowned upon," Porter said. "But my sophomore [year] and now like my junior year, it’s like they’re almost new iPhones. Everyone’s like, wants the new device."
Around campus, Stella Chamness and Isaiah Moore, a senior and junior respectively, said students are smoking and hiding vape pens and other products in a way that is not what parents and teachers expect.
Teachers and school administration try to do their part in curbing the vaping epidemic through confiscation, but Chamness said that checking backpacks is not enough.
"Some people might not keep it in their backpacks but you’re probably going to find one in their car if it’s not in their backpack," Chamness said.
Moore said that kids are more likely to go into places where they can't be seen by adults to smoke their vape pens.
"Like if you walk into the boy's bathroom and there’s more than four people, my guess is one of them’s selling, the other’s buying, one of them’s using and there will be like 4 or 5 people in one stall," Moore speculated.
Joseph Carcchiolo, a junior, shared how students have a hard time quitting smoking.
"I’ve seen people just shake when it’s 95 degrees out.," Carcchiolo said. "They’re just shaking just a little bit and you’re like, ‘What’s wrong?’ and they’re like, ‘I need nic, I need nic.’"
Moore added that after a student going through withdrawal symptoms gets their nicotine fix, they are back to normal.
While all parents may not be aware of how vaping directly affects their child, Chamness said that some parents are starting to understand that vaping is beginning to be "just as common as picking up a glass of wine or a drink."
For more, watch "Vaping: Hooking a New Generation" Friday on Late News Tonight at 11 p.m.
- Lung doctor explains symptoms of vaping-related illnesses
- Gov. Newsom takes executive action to combat the surge in vaping
- 3 things to know about e-cigarettes
- Stockton, Lodi schools see a surge in vaping among students
- 'It is not worth it' | Loomis mom offers a warning about vaping after son hospitalized with lung illness
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