The FDA is considering drugs to help kids quit vaping

The US Food and Drug Administration is considering the role of drug therapies to get kids to quit vapes and other nicotine products, with medical organizations and vaping groups weighing in during a public hearing Friday on how to address rising levels of e-cigarette use among youth.

Vaping among American teenagers has dramatically increased in the last year.

Nearly two in five U.S. high school seniors admitted e-cigarette use in the past year.

It's also a huge and growing problem in Mid-Michigan.

TV5's Frank Turner found a local school district taking drastic action to extinguish the problem in their community.

"We're at a point where we have to react because this came at us so quick, that we have to educate our parents, we've got to start educating the kids too," Shepherd High School Principal Joseph Passalacqua said.

After he empties the halls of students between classes, Passalacqua returns to fighting what's filling the student's lungs.

Many of them are part of a 78 percent increase in high schoolers vaping nationally, and a 48 percent increase among middle schoolers.

They're inhaling nicotine and deadly combinations of chemicals that are hurting their developing brains, and causing a lifetime of higher addiction vulnerability.

At shepherd High School, the principal is not blowing smoke about getting his school to go vape-free. He says he has 16 and 13-year-old boys himself, and knows they'll be tempted to vape at some point.

He's poised to push a PowerPoint presentation out to parents called "Catch My Breath" developed in conjunction with C-V-S health.

Some Shepherd students have already been caught vaping red-handed. In one recent instance, a container of e-cig nicotine was confiscated.

Shepherd School parents were recently warned in a letter sent home about multi-day student suspensions for being caught vaping.

The penalties may also include criminal citations from police, court-imposed fines for nicotine, and expulsion in some cases, particularly for vaping marijuana.

It's a danger being dealt with, teacher Julie Prout says, by young victims of multi-million dollar marketing.

"I think it comes down to the marketing of these products. Anything that looks delightful, or smells good or tastes good, which is all the flavored ingredients in there, leads the kids to think that it's not altogether that dangerous," Prout said.

The principal agrees and says peer pressure is the big thing he hears from his sons more than anything.

Another vaping trend involves the devices that are often hard to spot because most look like innocent flash drives or even pens.

Some are also used for "dabbing," the practice of putting pure THC oil, the psychoactive marijuana ingredient, directly on a vaping heating element and inhaling.

"They have no idea, the potency of what they're testing or trying even enjoying on a regular basis," Prout said.

New studies also show the latest increases in teenage vaping are giving back virtually all of the recent gains made against teenage tobacco use.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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