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Here’s what KTAR News learned about vaping among Arizona teens in 2019

PHOENIX — Vaping has become a growing and dangerous trend among teens in Arizona.

In October, KTAR News 92.3 FM reporter Griselda Zetino went in-depth on how big of a problem this has become among Arizona teens through a four-part series called “Hooked on Vaping.”

The series analyzed discipline data from school districts in the East Valley, which showed more and more Arizona students are using electronic cigarettes, vape pen, pods and other types of vaping devices. They’re getting caught vaping in school and some are ending up in the hospital.

Teen vaping isn’t prevalent just in the East Valley. Almost half of Arizona’s students have vaped by the time they reach 12th grade, according to the latest Arizona Youth Survey.

Health experts are sounding the alarm on how vaping is damaging teens’ lungs and brains. They also say the nicotine in vaping devices is causing young people to get addicted.

Some teens are ending up in the hospital due to vaping, including a 16-year-old girl from Phoenix who had been vaping for two years. She went into cardiac arrest and was in a coma when she was first hospitalized on Oct. 8.

Since the “Hooked on Vaping” series came out, the number of vaping-related illness cases have continued to rise. More than 20 cases have been reported in Arizona, according to the state health department. Most involve young people in their 20’s and 30’s.

The prevalence of vaping among Arizona teens and the health concerns have school districts across the state taking action.

Some are launching campaigns to educate students and parents about the dangers of vaping. Others are suing the biggest name in vaping, Juul. They argue Juul used misleading ads to get students addicted to vaping, and they say that has placed a burden on schools.

Cities also are taking action by adopting stricter regulations against vaping.

And as the new legislative session gets underway, several vaping-related bills have already been introduced. They include a bill to classify vaping products as tobacco and a bill to prevent vaping products from being advertised near schools.

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