© 2024 Public Radio Tulsa
800 South Tucker Drive
Tulsa, OK 74104
(918) 631-2577

A listener-supported service of The University of Tulsa
classical 88.7 | public radio 89.5
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Superintendent: Younger kids not immune to allure of e-cigarettes

Juul, Blu, Njoy, V2, Juno, Bo and other brands of electronic cigarettes.
Sarah Johnson
Wikimedia Commons
Juul, Blu, Njoy, V2, Juno, Bo and other brands of electronic cigarettes.

One in four Oklahoma high schoolers have vaped in the past 30 days. That’s according to a vaping awareness campaign created by the state’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust. But it’s not just older kids using nicotine.

A superintendent in Rogers County says his district comprised of about 515 younger students has caught middle schoolers with e-cigarettes, too. Dr. Shane Boothe of the Justis-Tiawah district says kids don’t always understand the addictive properties of vapes.

“A lot of the students, they really don’t give it a whole lot of thought. There’s still this stigmatism out there that it’s safer than smoking,” said Boothe.

But researchers report e-cigarettes can contain 20 times the nicotine in a cigarette. And with illegal vapes still sporting flavors that appeal to kids, Boothe says nobody is immune to addiction.

“What I've seen is, I've been just as surprised when it comes out of someone’s backpack as I could be, and then there are times when I've been like, ‘Those students have vapes, and this and that,’ but those students don't. It's definitely something you can’t stereotype,” said Boothe.

Experts recommend talking to your children about nicotine use. According to TSET’s campaign, knowing the dangers of vaping before going into a conversation is advisable. For more tips from TSET, visit the campaign’s website.

If you see an illegal vape, like one disguised as a school supply, contact Oklahoma's ABLE Commission tasked with keeping a registry of the state's vapor products.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.