(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Local school administrators in the St. Joseph School District (SJSD) said parents need to be as informed as possible when it comes to teen vaping.
"I think it’s prevalent more than we know in our community." Dr. Beery Johnson principal, Benton High School said.
Johnson said vaping is an issue that’s quickly grown over the last two years at his school.
Its popularity is getting the attention of state officials as well, this week Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced what the state is doing to combat vaping.
"I think for right now for us its what we can do from the Governor’s office trying to implement programs where we can," he said.
A campaign called Clear The Air, was recently launched to inform teens about the dangers of vaping. The state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is sharing information on vaping and vaping related products with schools across the state.
"It's really is a partnership," Dr. Doug Van Zyl, superintendent SJSD said. "We would hope that parents are educated as well."
SJSD has allowed for parents of kids in the district to have access to the information released by DESE, in it parents can learn the signs to look for if they suspect their child could be vaping as well as what vaping related products look like.
Parents of teens say the sudden rise in popularity of vaping is a concern
"With peer pressure, its really a fear," Treasa Staton, a mom of three teenagers said.
Staton said her biggest fear, along with the health concerns is what else vaping could lead to.
"If they try that, they’re going to try something else more than likely," She said. "I just don’t want them to have anything to do with it."
School administrators say the best way to combat the issue is being informed, while parents say its also important they talk to their kids about vaping and set expectations.
"We need to be fighting this educationally in the schools as well as in the community," Johnson said.
"I think that communication is the main line to get through to your kids," Staton said.
For more information on the Clear The Air campaign, as well as information from DESE, shared by the school district, click here.