Oklahoma parents and medical professionals concerned about underaged vaping

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — Parents, schools, and even medical professionals said they are seeing more and more kids vaping. Parents said some of the students are in elementary school.

A parent who commented on FOX23′s Facebook page said her daughter walked into a bathroom at school and saw kids vaping and offered her daughter to vape.

Oliver Middle School Nurse Dorlyn Waits is encouraging parents to be on the lookout.

“It can look like a thumb drive. It can look like a regular pen. It can look like normal things you’d have around your desk,” she said.

Last month, FOX23 told you about “You Suck Vapes” owners encouraging vape stores to stop selling to minors.

“We’ve seen the increase under 18 as well because vape shops have allowed it to happen,” the owners said. “It’s getting so bad that we get one or two a day that come in here and we have to say ‘no, I’m sorry.’ They’ll say, ‘Well okay, I’ll just go down the street.’”

With more teens vaping, Waits started a stop vaping campaign in 2020, which now happens every February. The school received posters and other educational resources to teach kids the myths and truths about vaping.

Dr. Weyman Lam, an allergy doctor at St. Francis, said as teens’ bodies and minds are still developing, they are putting themselves at risk of developing mood and learning disorders.

“Cognitive impairment that can occur, an increase in depression and mood disorders and obviously increase risk of nicotine dependence too,” Lam said.

Since vaping is not FDA regulated, Lam said there are many other possible health risks left unknown.

“The flavorings, you know, we don’t know what that can cause. The things you inhale, they may be carcinogens  that can occur that maybe we don’t know about yet; and there’s also EVALI, that’s Vaping Associated Lung Injury that can cause permanent lung damage and even death in certain cases,” he said.

The legal age to purchase vapes is 21. For resources on how to quit vaping, teens and parents can go to mylifemyquit.com for gums and patches. The site also offers free therapy.