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Teen vaping numbers drop during pandemic: Group says still long way to go

Maintaining healthy lungs is always important, especially during the pandemic. We might be starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to vaping.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Maintaining healthy lungs is always very important, especially during the pandemic. We might be starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to young people vaping. AP reports, the number of school-age kids who vape is down by almost 2 million this year.

We looked into what this drop could mean. 

WATCH: DOES VAPING INCREASE RISK OF COVID-19 IN TEENS AND YOUNG ADULTS?

For one reason or another, less young people are vaping in 2020, and that's good news-- especially during the pandemic. But, local groups say we still have a long way to go in the fight against e-cigs and vapes. 

We met with Ann Marie Martin, Project Coordinator with Partnership for a Drug-Free Community in Huntsville. She says, “We have a long way to go. Because, we’re really just back to the levels we saw in 2018.”

A national survey shared by Associated Press says this year 20 percent of high school students and 5 percent of middle school students report recently using e-cigarettes or vaping devices. This is less than the 28% of high schoolers and 11% of middle schoolers reported last year. 

The numbers are down, and that could be thanks to a number of reasons. Martin tells our reporter, “There have been laws that raised the age to buy e-cigarettes. Then of course we had the lung injury illness we had last summer, that helped raise awareness for how very dangerous this is.”

 The pandemic could be playing a part. Martin says, “With the COVID-19 pandemic, and kids not being in school, we think that might have contributed. We can’t be sure.” 

Ann Marie Martin adds, big tobacco companies are always looking for the next product to evade FDA restrictions. She explains, “They keep coming up with new things. So, new regulations come out and they come up with a new product that ‘skirts’ those regulations.” 

Disposable vapes are becoming more popular. But, it’s important to remember that when smoking any type of e-cig, you’re inhaling more than you may have bargained for. Martin explains, “Some of those flavoring chemicals can be dangerous themselves, and of course those heavy metal particles from those vaping devices also hurt your lungs." She adds, “In the era of COVID-19, anything that damages your lungs, will make you more susceptible to getting the virus and also causes a more serious outcome if you get it.” 

Parents, local churches and other groups can even arrange for a virtual presentation on the risks associated with vaping given by Partnership for a Drug-Free Community. You can give them a call or connect with them online to request a presentation. 

Click here to connect with them via Facebook

Click here to visit the Partnership for a Drug-Free Community website.