MOLINE, Illinois - A planned crackdown on kids using e-cigarettes may do little to stop what some see as an epidemic. The FDA is giving the companies that market the cigarettes less than 60 days to come up with stricter regulations.
Kids aren’t supposed to use them, but they do.
“Kids are getting them from having other people come in to get it,” says Donald Burch, manager at Big D’s Custom Vape in Rock Island.
“I see students try and puff them in class like it’s cool or something,” says Moline High School student, Karissa Kennedy.
And it’s easy to see why. They come in fruity flavors making it enticing for teens to buy. And although you have to be 18 to buy tobacco products, teens are still getting their hands on e-cigarettes.
“You come walking in the door, we ID you. You have to show us an ID. If you cannot show us an ID – bye,” says Burch.
Burch sells vapes, but not necessarily the ones kids want.
“Kids are wanting the Juuls and the MTL devices because they can take a hit off of it in class and not blow a lot of smoke.”
But they’ve become very popular in schools. We’re even told some students are smoking them inside the classroom.
“They look just like flash drives or something, so they are easy to sneak by teachers and everything,” says Jacob Vizer, student at Moline High School.
Now the government wants to protect young people from the power of vaping. The FDA says e-cigarette makers have 60 days to figure out a way to have teens stop buying their product.
“If they make a strict enough regulation, it’s going to make a huge difference,” says Burch, “because too strict of a regulation can put the vaping industry out.”
But schools also think they have an effective way to stop kids from vaping.
“Any student that’s caught with tobacco products or with tobacco whether they are 18 or not, if it’s on school property or they are a student we confiscate the products and they also receive school discipline,” says Ryan Brownell a school enforcement officer at Moline High School.
Some say vaping is getting a bad rap. Everything can be misused – especially by kids.
“So you’re always going to have it just like how it’s always been with cigarettes and how it’s been with alcohol,” says Burch.
But even some of these kids say it’s becoming a problem.
“It’s gotten pretty bad around here actually,” says Vizer.