(ST. JOSEPH, Mo) The Food and Drug Administration has reported a rising trend in e-cigarette use among teenagers,
"E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes and various forms." Maria Burnham, Health Coordinator with the St. Joseph School District.
The numbers released show a 77% increase of e-cigarette use in high school students, and a 48% increase for middle school students.
E-cigarettes and vapes are a relatively new form of smoking, Burnham warns the dangers of using these devices can be just as bad as smoking regular cigaretts.
Burnham said she wants parents to be in the know so they can spot these devices when they see them.According to Burnham, the "Juul", is one of the hottest on the market its described as very thin, very easy to carry and looks like a USB drive.
"One Juul pod contains as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes." Burnham said.
Youth organizations who work closely with teenagers also expressed concern.
"Young folks can easily bring [e-cigarettes] to school with them," Robin Hammond, St. Joseph Youth Alliance, said. "They can bring them in the bathroom."
The Youth Alliance wants teens to understand these dangers early on, so they don't fall prey to marketing tacticts.
"We want them to be above the influence, not under the influence of something." Hammond said.
Burnham wants teens to understand the lifetime consequences of getting addicted, so they can make the right choices at the right age.
"Once people are addicted to nicotine its very difficult to get away from it." Burnham said.
Burnham said it's important children and parents realize the similarities between regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes.