"It's an exponential increase and it will have an exponential impact if not addressed," said WakeMed Medical Education Vice President John Perry. "Increasing awareness is critical."
Some staggering statistics about teens and e-cigarette use. Between 2011 and 2017 there’s been an 894% increase in e-cigarette use amongst high school students. What schools and community leaders are doing to change this trend coming up at noon. #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/5QgVP0rCYb— Ana Rivera (@AnaRiveraABC11) May 3, 2019
According to the North Carolina Youth Tobacco Survey, there has been an 894 percent increase in e-cigarette use among high schoolers between 2011 and 2017. Some students aren't surprised.
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"We grew up knowing tobacco and cigarettes were bad--like do not inhale this stuff--and here are these new products with these fun flavors and they smell great and these kids they're not aware of the risks. And they're just inhaling and inhaling and getting so addicted to nicotine," said Bergen Johnson, a Wake County Public School student.
An 11th grader in Wake County, Johnson participated in Friday's Tobacco-Free Community Forum at WakeMed Raleigh's campus. She says she's hoping events like these will help her peers understand the effects of tobacco and e-cigarette use so they won't ever pick up either.
"The first time is often the most important because If you can prevent that first time then the second time won't happen," Johnson said.
Wake County Schools recently changed their policies, too. Schools not only have banned tobacco products but products with nicotine as well, which includes e-cigarettes.