Vaping becoming a growing issue in Nassau County schools

Tobacco-related incidents have doubled since last year, data show

YULEE, Fla. – Nassau County is dealing with a problem that’s exploded in schools this school year.

According to the Nassau County School District, vaping isn't just an issue in middle and high schools, it's also cropping up in elementary schools, too.

The district told News4Jax that cigarettes and chewing tobacco aren't the problem they once were. Instead, students are taking up e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.

To make matters worse, the district said that vaping is a lot more difficult to detect. Especially because the products sold by one brand, Juul, closely resemble thumb drives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for teens. The products contain high levels of the addictive chemical nicotine. In fact, a single Juul pod packs about as much of a punch as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.

Parents of students who attend Yulee Middle School are concerned about the growing trend. Adam Branton, who has an 11-year-old son, was stunned to learn that vaping is so popular.

“I mean, at his age I don’t want him around any of that," Branton said. "I had no idea it was that prevalent."

Bruce Florence told News4Jax he plans to talk with his 7th grader about vaping, particularly after learning that there have been 216 tobacco-related incidents this year in the school district. To put that figure in perspective, there were only 98 such incidents reported during the last school year.

The district attributes that increase to the availability and use of vaping devices like Juul.

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