E-cigarette use growing among teens – Gillette News Record

They use them in class, in the bathroom, in the hallway and the parking lot.

“There probably isn’t a place we haven’t caught someone,” Thunder Basin High School Principal Dennis Holmes said. “They’re easy to hide, and students can be so clever about where and how they use them.”

E-cigarettes — battery-powered devices that heat up a liquid to generate a vapor that’s inhaled — have been rising in popularity in the last several years. In 2011, 1.5 percent of U.S. high school students used them, and four years later, 16 percent did, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In Campbell County, there has been a similar surge in e-cigarette use among high school students, particularly since the start of this school year. There is little county data on students’ e-cigarette use, but Campbell County Public Health is working to collect that data, senior nurse Joli Carr said.

A growing concern

Holmes said he catches at least three students a week with e-cigarettes, which are banned from school property and are illegal for those younger than 18.

“They’re a nemesis,” he said, explaining that they increase the time teachers and administrators have to spend on discipline.

Students say the use is much more widespread than school staff knows.

Campbell County High School senior Sarah Mills said she’s never seen anyone caught with an e-cigarette, even though she sees students vaping (the term used for smoking with an e-cigarette device) a few times a week, often in class. The devices are small and the vapor is odorless, so students can easily conceal them in their hands or sleeves.

“The teachers are pretty unaware,” she said.


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