By Jennifer Brice
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– School resource officers worry there is an alarming and growing trend in schools across Colorado; vaping. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office plans to launch to an educational campaign warning kids and parents about the dangers of vaping.
Vaping has become a hot trend. CBS4’s Jennifer Brice met some high school students from the Cherry Creek School District who say vaping is everywhere among their teenage peers.
Peter Sarpong is a junior at Overland High School. He says 85 percent of the school’s students use it.
“It’s easy to hide,” says Sarpong. “You can put it in your backpack.”
In addition, it was not hard to find a student who vapes. Jennifer asks Bright Opong, also a junior at Overland, if it is the cool thing to do now.
“Yeah, yeah. I have one but I don’t bring it to school,” says Opong.
Sgt. Lori Bronner is a School Resource Officer in Douglas County. She points to one specific vape pen, smaller and charged with a USB cord, as commonly confiscated on middle and high schools campuses. Her officers have even found some at elementary schools.
The newer, smaller devices are easy to overlook for a parent according to Bronner. “They changed the model where it looks like a USB device and plugs into a laptop to charge so it would be easily overlooked.”
Bronner says the smaller vape pens also emit little to no odor. The vapor also is not as visible, which is why they are appealing to kids.
She says kids will often modify the vape pens to also smoke marijuana oil, “They can put the vape pen in like the sleeve of their shirt.”
The Centers for Disease Control found that e-cigarette use tripled among middle and high school students in just one year. In many cases, police say kids buy their vape pens online because stores are required to turn away anyone under 18.
When vape pens are found on campus in Douglas County Schools, Bronner says, they are confiscated. The students also get a ticket and have to go to court.