According to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Indiana ranks number 3 in the country for the most people who vape.
The Hamilton Center in Terre Haute is trying to help educate people on the dangers of vaping. In some ways, vaping can be more dangerous than regular cigarettes. Those effects of vaping can be even worse on kids.
“We know that many of the students now, many of the adolescents that we see here in this county and across the counties that we serve are utilizing vaping rather than the traditional cigarette,” Emily Owens, Executive Director of Clinical Services at the Hamilton Center said.
She said they’ve seen a big jump in Vigo County of kids who are vaping.
“Three to four percent of middle schoolers have at least tried it. We know that 11 to 12% of high schoolers have tried vaping. That’s a sharp increase from the previous years,” Owens said.
The nicotine in vapes and e-cigarettes is more concentrated and there’s more of it making it more addictive.
It can slow brain development in teens and increase the risk of other types of addictions later in life. Owens also points out you don’t always know what someone puts in their vape. She said right now the problem is that people aren’t educated.
“I’d say the biggest risk to adolescents is sometimes they don’t’ know what they’re actually inhaling,” Owens said.”A lot of adolescents think that there’s not a risk to vaping the marketing has really targeted adolescents. A lot of the adolescents just they’re not aware they’re not educated.”
Owens said if we don’t get in front of this problem now it will catch up to us in the future.
“The adolescents that are vaping now are going to probably start having long-lasting effects if they don’t stop,” She said.
The Hamilton Center does have programs to help. They hope to expand on those programs and reach more kids who are vaping or have the potential to become addicted.