(soft music) - [Boy] First time that I vaped, I was in sixth grade.
I was 12 years old.
- [Girl] I was 14.
- [Boy] I was nine years old.
- [Boy] 15 when I first tried to vape.
- [Boy] 13 years old.
- [Boy] 12 years old.
- [Boy] 10.
- [Boy] Nine years old.
- [Girl] 14 when I started.
- [Boy] About 11 years old when I started vaping.
(soft music continuing) - My mentality was like, I need nicotine.
If I don't have nicotine, I'm gonna be mad.
I can't live without it.
- It's an addiction.
It was something that completely controlled me.
- Vaping has become an epidemic here in Idaho.
We found it in the elementary schools and middle schools, the high schools and college, it's everywhere.
- E-cigarettes were developed in China and came onto the US market in 2007.
They were sold to the public as a smoking cessation tool.
They became this global hit super fast.
Within a few years multi-billion dollar global industry, no science to back it up.
- So all vaping devices work the same.
They have a battery on the bottom, a heating element in the middle, usually an atomizer or a coil, a container for liquid, and then a mouthpiece.
- The beginning products had no oversight, there was no standardization.
It was kind of the Wild West and everybody bought into it.
And we're using these products, but yet the science wasn't there to tell us are they really safe?
It wasn't until 2016 that the FDA received power to regulate e-cigarettes under tobacco products.
At this point, there's about 6 million applications in the FDA on e-cigarette products to be reviewed.
(upbeat music) - The first generation was really the e-cigarette.
It looked like a cigarette.
There really wasn't much difference in size and shape.
And about three years later, in 2009, we saw the development of the vape pen.
That's when we started seeing refillable tanks.
We started seeing flavors being added.
And then in 2012 we saw the mod devices come out, which is short for modifying, and you can add bigger tanks to the top.
You can add bigger batteries.
2015, the JUUL was created.
That's when they started really seeing a change in teenage use.
- [Abucar] JUUL made a product that was sleek, easy to hide, and on top of that they tasted good.
They had sweet and fruity flavors that appealed to a younger market.
- [Sara] And within a year or two, they had captured 75% of the market.
- Part of the reason why these were so popular is because there was so much nicotine in them that kids felt like they were getting high from it.
They're getting buzzed from it.
- If you vaped one JUUL pod that's equivalent to one pack of cigarettes.
That's a lot of nicotine.
We are gonna have this whole new generation that's addicted to nicotine just like we did with conventional tobacco.
- It makes me pretty angry.
It makes me really sad.
You see the advertisements that these e-cigarette companies use and you see the advertisements that the big tobacco of the 50s and 60s used to use, and they're the exact same, but it's just a different generation, my generation.
Juul advertised on social media using young fashionable models.
They hired influencers to promote their product.
They had launch parties, they gave away free samples.
JUUL had an Instagram page and they had a Twitter page.
And when you looked at their followers, 45% of those followers were people between the ages of 13 and 17.
These are not people who are allowed to purchase e-liquid.
These are not people who are allowed to vape.
Juul strategically marketed to children to expose them to a product that would result in a lifelong addiction.
(upbeat music) - Finally, in 2020, the FDA banned fruity flavors from pod based e-cigarettes like JUUL.
- The vape companies were like, well then we're gonna stop producing pod devices and we're just gonna make these pod devices into one device and call them disposables.
Therefore, we can still add flavors to them and we can have higher amounts of nicotine in them still.
- I look at these kids, young kids vaping and many of them have no idea how addictive this product is.
- [Boy] I would vape every day.
- [Boy] 24/7.
- [Boy] Every chance I could.
I would try and take that hit.
- [Girl] Every hour.
- [Boy] Once every 15 to 20 minutes.
- [Boy] I would wake up in the middle of the night, take a hit.
- [Boy] And most of the time I never left my hand.
I just kinda learned how to do things with just one hand.
- First time I vaped was on one of the first days of middle school in seventh grade.
I went in the girls' bathroom and there was a big group of popular girls, like the really pretty ones everyone wanted to be friends with.
They asked me if I wanted to try their vape that they had.
The first time I tried it, I felt like I was gonna throw up.
My chest got super tight.
And I was trying to play it off like nothing was happening.
They saw that I wasn't a snitch, that I wasn't gonna tell on them, so they asked me to hang out with them more.
Previously, I didn't really fit in at all, and so just like having that feeling like someone wanted to be my friend just meant everything to me.
When I first started vaping, I used to get them from friends, maybe having one Puff Bar a week and I thought that was enough.
But I soon started vaping more and I'd go through a Puff Bar every three days and one just wasn't enough.
- The brain doesn't fully develop until we're about 25.
So when youth are using these products that contain nicotine, it's easier for them to get addicted.
Nicotine affects the way the brain works.
It can affect mood, impulse control, learning, attention, all of those things that our teens are doing daily.
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
- [Girl] You are very welcome.
- Even though I've been off of it for like a month and a half, like I still remember and crave how it feels, you know?
And every time I wake up I think about how good it would be to have one.
- It's not a good idea.
- I feel like it's never gonna go away and I just wish I never did it.
- I'm the same way.
I'm still addicted and I don't wanna be 'cause I know it'll just mess with my life.
I wouldn't get good grades.
I started failing in school because of it.
I was like, "Oh, I need the nicotine."
So I'd run to the bathroom, I'd text my friends, wouldn't pay attention just so I could go get nicotine.
- I would like hit it in class like those sleeve part.
- Me too, put in your sleeve.
Put your hand up in your bra.
- Or like move the Chromebook and like do tricks under it and stuff like that.
In our science class we always used to do that.
- [Girl] And I never did get caught.
- [Boy] I noticed a lot of physical effects of vaping, like right off the bat.
- [Girl] I feel so drained.
- [Boy] It's so tired, so often.
- [Girl] Extreme chest pain, winded easily.
- [Boy] I'd have to use my inhaler a lot more.
- [Boy] My lungs are hurting and I could barely breathe in at all.
- [Girl] I can't breathe.
- [Boy] I can't breathe.
- [Boy] I could not breathe.
- When I was younger I was angry all the time.
Some of the ways I would manage my anger was vaping.
I'd vape to feel better, but when I didn't have it I would crave it and get very angry and I'd go back to that cycle to where I wanted to buy more.
I was in boxing for like three years.
I loved it.
I was really good at boxing.
I was getting into like more top fights with people that I thought were like crazy good.
And then I started vaping and that's when a lot of things started to change.
I started getting shortness of breath.
I didn't really feel motivated to go to practice.
I just wanted to go in my room, relax and start vaping and just kick back.
Sometimes whenever I'd hit it, my lungs would hurt.
I feel like I couldn't breathe after.
I'll start coughing.
I remember like sometimes whenever I would take too many hits, I'd puke.
I don't know if that's normal, but my nose would bleed.
Vaping held me back from a lot of things I love to do.
- We are seeing children as young as seven or eight years old that are vaping.
We are also seeing lung injury that occurs with vaping.
When we see kids in the hospital with vape related injury, it goes along with respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath, low oxygen levels, difficulty with exercise and a lot of nicotine addictive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, not feeling good, anxious particularly as they come off nicotine, they're experiencing all those symptoms that go along with withdrawal.
- Like I noticed right away that something was off with Damian.
First things I noticed that when Damian was vaping was he was self-isolating and you couldn't get him out of his room.
I always like would be questioning my parenting.
Did I do wrong by giving them freedom to go to the skate park or have friends over?
What could I do better as a parent?
I don't know, it's hard being a parent, it's hard.
- Our lungs were meant for two things.
Breathing in oxygen, exhaling CO2.
Vaping is damaging the lungs.
They just started seeing a trend and these teenagers coming in and why they were coughing, why they were short of breath.
They automatically thought it was asthma.
But that ended up being the issue was the vaping.
Now it's a regular thing.
That's what scares me.
It's almost tenfold.
It's doubled, tripled, quadrupled.
We deal with it in all the youth now.
We have changed the way we do a lot of our testing.
The way we've worked with the doctors in the emergency department and the way they question their patients when they come into the emergency department.
That's become one of the questions now.
Do you vape?
- In June of 2019, the CDC started getting reports of a lot of people being hospitalized due to vaping.
They had a 95% hospitalization rate with this.
What this was is e-cigarette vaping associated lung injury.
- What happens that causes EVALI is that you get inflammation, you get acute lung injury and you get a diffused pneumonia that happens within the lung.
It's a constellation of symptoms that's associated with vaping.
We've known that there are several thousand cases of EVALI that have been reported and somewhere between 50 and 100 deaths.
- Just this year we had our first lung transplant here in Idaho from vaping.
Patient said they'd vaped for about a year, which for a young person, that's just unheard of.
That's the issue I see with vaping is it's quick, so fast on the damage it does.
- [Boy] Vaping affected me mentally.
- [Boy] I noticed it really hard to function in everyday life.
- [Boy] And when I didn't have it, I got like really angry.
- [Boy] With every hit I would just push my emotions away.
- [Boy] Mentally I just was not there.
- [Girl] Extreme anxiety whenever I didn't have it.
- [Boy] There'd be days that my vape wouldn't be charged and those days were really bad.
- Let's go wake up.
Time to wake up, tuck your shirts in.
60 seconds to get to the line gentlemen, let's go.
Let's go get up.
(upbeat music) - Let's go, (indistinct) start my countdown.
Let's go get up.
(upbeat music continuing) Let's go gentlemen, get up.
30 seconds to get to my line.
(indistinct) where's my countdown?
- [Boy] 20 seconds.
- First time I ever vaped was in day I was in my middle school in, yeah, in the bathroom.
Graduated from me from using it for my friends just to like hit it to getting my own, to having it on me 24/7 and to hitting it at school, going to the bathroom in class.
I had a little bit of weed on me that got caught with that.
I could have been off probation a lot earlier and I blew it.
I got caught with some vapes, no weed or anything like that.
I just struggled with vaping a lot.
I'd always get close to getting off probation.
I'd be like a month off, a few weeks off and then I'd get caught at school with a vape and suspended And then at that point I'd been suspended from school three times for a vape and they're like, "All right, you█re getting expelled. "
And I'm like, "It's a problem.
It's a big problem."
I was behind on credits.
A PO talked to me about the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy and I said, "No, I don't wanna go to no military school."
But talking to the superintendent, it was not a bad idea.
The thing that mainly got me was that making 14 credits up in a five month process.
So I mean like making 14 credits up in five months is a big deal.
That's a whole year of credits only five months.
That's what I needed.
I need to graduate and I need to get my life on track and that's why I chose to come here.
There's definitely a lot of changes from my home life to being here, waking up at five in the morning, getting yelled at, telling them what to do, tell them when to sit down, standing up for chow, tell them to do this.
There's a lot of discipline look straight forward, hands by your side or you're pushing until you do it correctly.
No phones, no TVs, no music, no nothing like that.
Just straight in the woods wilderness.
I mean, I smoked what right before I came in like the day of.
Yeah, it was definitely hard.
The staff here definitely helped out.
They understand that you have some withdrawals going on and they're there for you and they actually help you get through it.
And also all the other cadets, them going through the same process that I'm going through, talking to them, it does help having somebody with you through the fight, through the struggle.
- I'm gonna be completely honest if I didn't come to this academy I don't know how I would stop.
- [Chase] Yeah, it's you know what I mean?
'Cause it's everywhere.
- It's everywhere.
And I wasn't disciplined before.
I just would do whatever I feel like.
I don't think I would've stopped anytime soon.
I think it started as like me trying to be cool in front of my friends.
So I started doing it with them like a little bit and then that's when I started to realize, I'm like, oh crap, I'm actually not doing this to be cool anymore.
Like I'm actually addicted.
Like I like it, I need this.
- You guys like wake up all the time in the middle of the night, hit your nic and then go back to bed.
- Oh, yeah.
I'm like, I shouldn█t hit this, but I'll hit one more time and then wake up one more time.
- Or like instead of sleeping, you'll like, you'll look up and you'll be, oh, it's already morning.
I gotta go to school.
I haven't even slept.
And then you sleep in your classes.
- Like, I remember seeing ads about, oh vapes bring toxic chemicals into your lungs.
I would just sit there and laugh.
- I'd laugh at it too.
I'd laugh and hit the same time.
- [Boy] Like, oh word.
- [Boy] Oh for real?
- This academy and like I actually have a schedule and we've been working out, I really do realize how much like toxic stuff it puts into your body.
Like I'm doing so good in school.
I sucked at math.
I was literally in I think it was like seventh grade level math.
And that was hard for me.
I'm down here doing algebra now.
I'm like, what?
Like where did this come from?
Like I'm not that smart or like I thought I wasn't that smart.
I actually thought I was stupid.
- I understand 'cause I mean, you're going out to the bathroom and you're missing out in class and you're not, I mean math, you can't miss anything in math.
And you go out there and you go hit vape, you're like, ah, I feel better.
And you come back to math and even more stressed, you gotta vape even more to cope.
Get over this.
- Yeah, then you're like, oh I'm stressed some more 'cause I just missed out on that.
Let's take another hit.
Oh, I missed out.
Like it's just a repeating process.
- According to the CDC, some of the chemicals that we see in e-cigarettes, 99% contain nicotine, heavy metals like nickel, lead, tin.
And then one of the more concerning items are the flavors and they contain a chemical called diacetyl and that is linked to popcorn lung, which can be irreversible.
- If you look in the back of like say a JUUL box, you'll see usually, it only lists four or five chemicals.
Propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, flavors.
If there is a fifth liquid, it's usually an acid.
When we look at those five ingredients, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, okay, takes up about 70% of the liquid.
When you mix these two together, it creates formaldehyde.
And formaldehyde that is a cancer causing substance.
We know that formaldehyde causes lung cancer in smoking.
That's a known fact.
Anything with the word aldehyde at the end of it, cinnamon aldehyde is hidden in flavorings.
We don't know which ones.
There's 25,000 different flavorings out there for vaping.
- So through my research, which we've been doing this for about 10 years, we're interested in e-liquids that are found in e-cigarette products and looking at their toxicities.
There's tens of thousands of different flavorings.
And so we screened a bunch of them.
And our major finding is that not all flavorings have the same level of toxicity.
- One of the biggest misconceptions that I hear when it comes to vaping is that it's safer than smoking conventional tobacco, which is absolutely not true.
The vehicle that's used to dissolve the e-liquids actually makes it easier for it to dissolve into your lungs.
It's actually not safer for you to vape than it is to smoke.
But once it gets dissolved into your bloodstream from your lungs, one of the organs that could be affected afterwards are your bones.
And that's probably not the first thing that comes to your mind.
But by age 18 you acquire 90% of the maximum bone density that you'll have for the rest of your life.
We know that nicotine inhibits the growth of our bone forming cells.
That will result in a decreased peak bone mass, especially if the users are under the age of 18.
Decreased bone mass can put you at a greater risk for fracturing.
It can also put you at a greater risk for osteoporosis later in life.
The amount of nicotine in these e-liquids that we are studying is astronomically larger than the amount of nicotine that we see in regular tobacco cigarettes.
So there could be an even greater impact on these bone cells specifically When we expose the bone cells in our research to the e-liquid, even at really low concentrations, we can see that as the concentration of e-liquid increases, so does the number of damaged cells.
And you can see that really clearly under the microscope.
The only difference in the cells that we treat and the cells that we leave as our controls is the amount of e-liquid that we expose them to.
And on one side you see living cells and on the other side you see dead cells.
From our studies we've determined that the menthol and cinnamon flavors are the most toxic.
- And a lot of these effects are happening independent of nicotine.
And so the flavorings are having effects and the nicotine is causing the addiction.
- Although we don't have the same longitudinal studies that we do in tobacco smoking, the fact that we are able to see flavor dependent responses in our cells at such low concentrations definitely suggests that we're moving towards an outcome that is just as bad if not worse in the long-term when it comes to vaping.
- The bottom line is the research has not caught up with the popularity.
- [Boy] I was feeling so bad.
I took money like outta my dad's wallet to buy a vape and I'm not a thief.
- [Boy] We would go to different gas stations and hotels and search through the ashtrays that they had and search for like halfies or anything that we could smoke.
- [Girl] I would lie to my dad and say that I needed money for lunch when really I was just saving it to buy a vape.
- [Boy] I have physically fought somebody for a vape.
- Vaping is a huge problem in the high school-aged student.
I ask them, where are you getting these things?
And they're pretty much reaching out to strangers on social media.
They call them their plugs, they hit them up or contact them on social media, ask them for whatever they want and these adults are bringing our students these devices to smoke day in and day out.
- I went on Snapchat, saw if there were any plugs that were selling vapes and there was this one guy who his whole entire story was just posts of all these different boxes of different kinds of vapes and how they were super cheap and how he lived really close to where I lived.
At first I was nervous just 'cause I didn't know who he was, I didn't know what he looked like, how old he was, if it was a scam or not.
I would usually go to Spokane, which was maybe like an hour drive.
I would wait until my dad was asleep.
On a school night, I'd sneak out I'd get a ride from a random person, whoever needed a vape or I would pay them to drive me and we'd go pick them up.
I'd spend like $100 on 10 vapes and then I'd make a profit of $200.
My dealer saw that I was making a good amount of money.
He started asking me if I wanted to sell other things like weed.
He gave me probably over $300 in weed and over $500 in vapes.
I got a message from one of my friends asking if they could buy some weed and a couple vapes off me at school.
So I went to school with about four grams of bud on me and over five vapes.
And I was sitting in class and got called down to the principal's office and there were two cops down there and then they searched my backpack, didn't find anything in it because I had it all in my bra.
They said that they were gonna have a female police officer come and search me.
Well, I didn't want that to happen so I just pulled out what I had.
And right there I got a intent to sell.
And a misdemeanor for possession of marijuana.
- Kids are able to hide a much easier than a traditional cigarette, right?
They smell different, they're a lot smaller, they're a lot easier to conceal.
- [Boy] Some of the ways I've hid vapes at school are making secret pockets in my backpack.
Keep it in my pocket and put my phone over it so that it just looks like I have my phone.
- [Boy] In the toilet paper dispenser.
- [Girl] In my bra.
- [Boy] In my sleeves, or my socks or in my belt line.
So if they search me with the metal detector, it beeps over my belt.
- Kids are vaping everywhere.
They are vaping in school.
They're vaping at home.
They're vaping in front of adult Vapes are designed to look like office products.
They look like sharpies, they look like pens, they look like flash drives.
- The thing with the pod devices and disposables is they're like super easy to hide.
There's drawstrings, watches, pens, key chains, lipstick.
- And because of the way they're designed they can literally be used anywhere without being detected.
- Some places I would hide them, just hide it in my skateboard, just put it right there.
Blanket I'd stuff it in here, inside my guitar, put it under my mattress or under my carpet, under this one or under the flat sheet.
I'd also put it in like a sweater, in the pocket, under my pants or in between them.
Or I'd stuff it in some shoes.
I'd put it in the picture frame and you know how like it holds right there.
Like I'd put it like right here on the back of it.
I'd also hide it in my tissue box.
My parents wouldn't really like notice it, but I usually just stuff it all the way in the bottom of it and whenever I was fiending for I'd just go in there and grab it But I'd usually keep it under my pillow mostly 'cause that's when I was mostly like that's the easiest place I can go.
When I wake up, I usually take a hit.
Middle of the night, I usually take a hit as well.
- I just hate it.
I just hate the vaping.
We've done counseling, we've done sports.
It got to a point where my husband and I purchased these alarm systems so we can hear when he opened his window because if he opened his window that means he was doing something he's not supposed to be doing.
- There has been so many times that I've talked to parents that said, "Oh my kid doesn't vape, they know better."
And then weeks later they're calling me and saying, "Hey, I found this in their room."
- There's not a specific type of kid that vapes.
I think it spans from rich, poor, to athlete to honor roll.
- [Cody] If you don't think your kid is vaping, think again.
40% of all kids in Idaho have at least tried it once.
- [Boy] Vaping did lead to other substances that I put into my body.
- [Boy] Vaping led to smoking cigarettes when I couldn't get a vape.
- [Boy] Marijuana, and then that led me down to a whole bunch of other stuff.
- [Girl] Smoking weed, then alcohol and then the harder substances.
- [Boy] And once I got the high I felt like I really just had to keep it going.
- In early 2009 and 2006, we only saw nicotine in these devices.
But now as these have adapted, other drugs have adapted with it - Kids who I catch smoking marijuana typically started vaping e-cigarettes and then they continued on to marijuana because it's just as easy to smoke THC out of a vape as it is nicotine.
- It's so street vaping is a lot more dangerous than buying from an actual vape shop because people are making these chemicals in their homes and then they're selling them.
And you don't know what's in them.
- These dealers, adults that are willing to sell to children are just selling them whatever they can get their hands on to get their money.
Even here on campus I have tested a device and it tested to have fentanyl inside of it.
We have people who are dying from these things because they smoke something that they don't know what it is and potentially have an overdose.
So we have actually heard of meth being vaped, heroin, MDMAs, like Molly, Ecstasy.
We've heard rumors that people putting vitamin E acetate in them.
I've even heard of Super Glue being added to them.
- If your kids are in a school situation, they're going to be exposed to and offered a vape at some point.
We need to talk with our kids before they're faced with it.
We need to talk with them when they're young so they're more likely to listen to us.
They're gonna know about the dangers and they're gonna know how to handle it when they're faced with the situation.
- It's important to tell my story well because vaping almost killed me.
- Brogan is my middle child, he's 19 years old.
Brogan is a very kind, giving person.
- I like to bowl, I like to hunt, dirt bike.
I like to play piano.
I liked spending time with family.
When I started vaping, I wanna say I was 13.
Everybody around me did it.
Friends, family I was doing it constantly.
- So the day started, like any other day, I called Brogan to see what he was doing and he had gotten off work and walked down to the river to go fishing with his cousin and a friend of theirs.
- Mom called me and said, "Hey, I'm over at Grandma's, you wanna meet me there?"
I was like, "Yeah, no problem."
My buddy was like, "All right, well I'll see you later."
I was like, "Well let me hit your vape before I go."
I hit it and I was like, "All right, see you later."
Me and my cousin went to my grandma's house.
- Brogan sat on the couch with us.
He started looking up at the ceiling fan and kinda pointing at it.
And I looked over at him and I was like, "What are you doing Brogan?"
And he laid down behind me and I said, "Quit messing around, what are you doing?
And that's when he started having a full on grand mal seizure.
His eyes rolled up in his head, his body locked up head to toe.
It feels so helpless as a parent Thank goodness my husband was there.
He is a fireman, he's dealt with this.
He ran in the room and he laid Brogan on the floor and was rubbing his back.
And I just remember it sounded like he was gasping to breathe and his eyes were still rolled up in his head and his whole body was just shaking.
Every muscle in his body was contracting.
In that moment I thought, this is it.
I'm gonna lose my child.
My worst nightmare.
I called 911, and I ran outside to wait for the ambulance to get there When the paramedics got there and I took them in the house where Brogan was, he had started to come to.
And one of the questions the paramedics asked was, did you ingest anything?
Did you take anything?
Did you eat anything?
Did you drink anything?
Anything out of the ordinary?
And he's like, "No."
My nephew was standing there and I looked at him and I said, "Did you guys do anything that would cause this?"
And he said, "We hit a vape."
So when we were in the hospital, I told the doctor that he had hit a vape maybe 30 minutes, 45 minutes before the seizure hit.
The emergency doctor did say that in all likelihood, vaping did trigger the seizure.
Nicotine poisoning probably is what caused it.
However, vapes have not been out long enough to do studies to prove that seizures can be caused by vaping.
- When the doctor said that it was more than likely caused by vaping, I just thought to myself, there's no way, 'cause I've been doing it for how long?
Wouldn't it have happened sooner?
- There's not enough research to prove that that's what caused his seizure.
So to a teenage boy, they're not gonna believe that vaping caused a seizure 'cause they wanna vape.
- My relationship with my mom after my first seizure changed.
- I pulled him outta public school, made him homeschool.
- She was very strict.
- I isolated him from all of his friends.
- She was searching through my stuff.
- I actually bought nicotine tests to start testing him at home.
- She would not let me hang out with my friends.
- Rarely left the house, however, he did have a cousin stay the night.
- He brought a vape with him.
We vaped all night.
- His cousin come running in our bedroom and said something is wrong with Brogan.
- And I ended up having a seizure that night.
- Me and my husband got up and ran in his room and I looked right at his cousin as Brogan is laying they're having a grand mal seizure.
I looked at his cousin and I said, "Did he vape today?"
And he just stared at me and I said, "I need to know."
And he said, "Yes, he did."
- That night it was clear to me that vaping caused my seizure because what else would've caused it on that particular night?
After that second seizure, I was done.
I didn█t even touch a vape after that.
- I think what finally made Brogan quit is fear.
The fear of having a seizure and not coming out of it.
- Even after I quit vaping, there still was times when I was like four o'clock in the morning and I'm just like, what if I don't wake up tomorrow?
- It's been really hard.
Mostly for him.
He's lost all his independence.
He now has a huge medical debt.
He's diagnosed with a seizure disorder that will follow him the rest of his life.
- If I had never vaped, my life would be so different.
I wouldn't have had to sell my dirt bike, I wouldn't have had to lose my job or my license and I would've never had to start taking pills every day for seizure medication.
- A big problem is once parents find out their kids are vaping, it's almost too late.
They're already hooked.
Parents need to wake up.
They need to realize that this is real and this is a problem and it's getting worse.
- I want people to understand you got one life, live it smart.
Don't be dumb, don't do what I did.
Just don't risk it.
- The best way to keep your kids away from vaping is to talk to them.
So we actually do have studies that show us that talking to your kids works.
Kids who regularly have to check in with their parents about their free time are half as likely to try tobacco products.
Those are great numbers.
So I actually often get asked by parents how do I talk to my kids?
So you remain calm you don't be alarmed about it.
And you look for opportunities to talk with them.
Ask a simple question like, "I hear that a lot of kids are vaping at school.
Is that something that you're seeing?"
And that kind of opens up the lines of communication.
And if you're not confrontational with them and if they're not feeling like this is a lecture, then they're open to telling you what their day-to-day life is like and you can kind of see what they're faced with.
- You have to tell me what I need to do to help you.
Vaping it affects all of us.
So now moving forward that you're not vaping, what are you gonna do when you're stressed out at work?
- It's everywhere, mom.
There's not like one place, I'll see someone smoking, you're doing something and like, just go with what I want.
I'm not gonna go with something that somebody else wants or something that's gonna control me while I'm doing something that I should be doing.
- Well there's gonna be a lot more challenges ahead.
And I'll face those challenges.
- Yeah, well we'll do it together.
Now that you're not doing like the stuff that you did before mijo, you're glowing like I love it.
You're happier and I hope that you know that Dad and I are both proud of you.
I'm proud of how like you're committed sticking to not vaping anymore, changing your circle with your friends.
- I mean, that's huge mijo.
I love you.
- Me as well.
- One of the hardest things about quitting is how lonely you feel.
Like I went from being in a huge group of people to just sitting by myself, watching the people who I thought were my friends doing the same thing that I don't wanna be part of anymore.
- [Boy] The hardest thing for me about quitting would probably be not having that feeling or having something to do all the time.
- [Boy] Seeing my friends to do it.
- [Girl] So I always reach in my backpack for something and it's not there.
- [Boy] Even just smelling it will make me want to hit it.
- [Boy] Wanting to hold it in your hand.
- [Boy] It's hard to fight that urge when it's like right in front of you all the time.
- [Boy] When I vaped, I just pushed my emotions away and now I have to face them.
- So teen cessation can be really tricky.
They actually have three types of addictions with these.
They have a nicotine addiction, they have device addiction of always having it in their hand, but also there's a flavor addiction.
And I was talking to one kid and he said that that was the hardest addiction for him to quit, was the flavor addiction.
We don't really have a whole lot of tools like we do with adults.
We can give them patches, gum, lozenges, they could get Chantix or Wellbutrin prescribed by the doctor.
- Typically we don't use medications for teens like we use with adults.
And that's just because their brains are still developing.
- Since we don't have those tools for a teenager, we have to work on coping skills Limit yourself to exposure to vapes.
So if you have it in your house, get rid of them.
Try to stay away from those friends that were vaping.
Usually with nicotine addiction, the cravings don't last very long and so if you can get your mind off of it for even just five, ten minutes, usually that helps.
We try to meet with them as much as we can, do it through the process and just kind of help them through that journey.
But it's gonna be a hard journey, especially if they're teenagers that are really addicted to these and some teenagers are waking up in the middle of the night craving these.
That's a super high addiction.
- Project Filter is Idaho's cessation program.
There's actually a vaping tab if you go under their website.
And then we have the Truth Initiative.
It's another really good one that has apps available, they're all anonymous.
And they have specific messages from teens who have gone through it.
They share their story, they share how it was hard, why it was hard, what they did to overcome that.
40% of teens who use a tool like that, like an app or a texting program, they're more successful So it's important that they take that step and use the tools that we do have available for them.
(indistinct) - Addiction isn't just something you can like get over and then just push it away like, oh I'm not addicted anymore.
Like it's there forever.
It's in your mind.
The best thing I could tell anyone would be like, stop now.
'Cause it's just gonna get harder.
It's gonna be harder to stop.
- The best thing to do is not even start.
Because once you start, I just always think like oh, I can stop.
I can stop.
I just don't want to.
- The famous quote I can stop whenever I want.
I mean, I've had a substance abuse counselor.
One of the best of the tips he gave me and I've realized it is keep yourself busy.
You keep yourself busy, you do something, you look forward to something, you won't be fiending.
You look forward to chow.
You're like, all right, I'm looking forward to chow.
Looking forward to eating.
Looking for the eating, keep yourself busy and you won't have that.
I need to go hit something.
I need to go get a vape.
I need to go smoke.
I need to go do something.
Just keep yourself busy.
- Or keep your mouth busy.
Like chew gums or eat seeds so you can always keep your mouth busy instead of, oh I need to hit this vape.
(soft music) - One of the things I do to help my cravings is box breathing.
It's something that just helps me calm down.
I like journaling.
That helps me just get my feelings out in a healthy way.
Another coping strategy that I use is self-care with like getting enough sleep, exercising, eating the right kind of food.
That kind of stuff really helps me with preventing my craving for doing negative things like vaping and makes it so things are just calmer and less stressful.
'Cause that's usually what triggered me to vape most.
- The people that we surround each other with, that's us.
If you surround yourself with bad people then you're gonna make bad choices.
And so when I get outta here, I'm definitely going to remove the people that were bad influences on me.
I'm going to make some new friends, make better friends, friends that empower me and help me do the right thing.
- But I feel like the best thing that's gonna help me stay away from it is having a goal in place and like 'cause I wanna go to CSI, I wanna graduate high school.
I wanna go into welding, I wanna advance my career in welding and make bank, make as much as I can.
And I feel like having that mindset and my goals and plan that's gonna help me the most to quit and thrive.
- It'd be kind of nice to have like an extra 20 years not being dead.
- [Boy] I'm sure our future selves will thank us now.
- [Boy] Being able to breathe.
- [Boy] Yeah.
- [Boy] But we'll worry about that when the time comes.
You guys wanna play some basketball?
- [Boy] Absolutely.
- [Boy] Yep.
(soft music) - There is quite a bit of catch up that needs to be done both within the medical community as well as the community at large about what vaping really is and the dangers of it.
- My fears about vaping are that fact that we just don't have the same kind of culture against it that we do with tobacco smoking.
- There have been very targeted advertising towards children and teenagers to make it cool and exciting and acceptable.
And we need to have a culture shift away from that because it's not cool, it's not acceptable and it's not safe.
- Education is key.
If parents wanna talk to their kids about vaping, they need to know what they're talking about.
So you don't need to talk about JUUL anymore.
That was two years ago.
They're now doing disposables.
So you have to be current in your knowledge.
- Another really great service on Truth Initiative is for parents of vapers and they can sign up for text messages.
So that's really helpful because they get reminders of ways that they can communicate with their kids.
So it's not confrontational.
It's really helpful for them to have some assistance in how to talk to their kids about it and how to support them through that quitting.
- [Boy] It feels amazing to be substance free.
- [Boy] I don't think I've ever been this positive or this motivated in my life.
- [Girl] I feel like more myself - [Girl] I can breathe, I can think clear.
- [Boy] It feels great.
I feel on top of the world.
- [Boy] It's a lot easier to focus.
- [Boy] I'm more outgoing and like kinder.
- [Boy] My feelings don't rely on nicotine.
- It's cool 'cause like my dad sees that I'm improving in my work ethic too, like my coping skills as well.
Like I've been more in the chill instead of being like so angry.
My mom now all she talks about is like, she's like loving me and all.
She'd always gimme kisses and hugs.
And now I'm 17 and now I look back and I'm like, man, that 15 year old me was not thinking right.
Like, you really thought you had it, but no you don't.
'Cause I was struggling and now I see that, I'm like, how'd you think you were gonna make it out if you just kept doing that?
Just looking back at it and now that I have support, it's like that support is gonna get me up on my feet.
I got my family, I got the people that wanna be here with me and be there for me.
- Education is powerful.
Our kids are smart.
If we give them the education, I think they can use those tools to make better decisions.
It's much easier to prevent than to stop an addiction.
- When I was vaping, I lied about a lot of stupid things.
And I feel now that I'm clean I can start to rebuild that trust.
And trust is honestly one of the biggest things in in life, especially with family.
I was given the opportunity to graduate and get my diploma at the academy or come home and graduate a semester later with my class.
I decided to go back to my high school here in our town.
Because what I've gone through and who I am now, a totally different person.
All the heartaches and the troubles that I've conquered and also my friends that I've made along the way.
My family's gonna come down for my graduation, which will be fun.
And also having the staff members who have believed in me and have helped me along the way that I can show them that I can do something with my life and I'm committed and I can actually accomplish something.
- I'm honestly thinking about how I got called in the office right there, getting searched by the police.
And I think about how much I've changed since I've been here last.
My goal was to just pass high school and maybe get a job that would pay decent.
And now I am signing up for Job Corps.
I'm gonna be going to college here soon.
And I actually feel like I am looking forward to something in my future.
I'm able to tell myself that I'm not constantly being controlled by something that is killing me every time I hit it.
And it's really nice knowing that I have control of myself again, which is something I haven't felt since the first day I started vaping.
I think I actually found myself for once.