Schools, Parents Taking Action Over E-Cigarette Concerns

On Sept. 1, a new state law raising the minimum legal purchase age of tobacco and nicotine products to 21, takes effect in Texas.

The change comes after Parent Teacher Associations across Texas lobbied for a shift, primarily citing concerns over teen e-cigarette use.

"We just don't really know the impact that they're having with that sort of product and how much it can really change their bodies," said Plano parent and Plano ISD Council of PTAs President Kelley Thomas.

Thomas says the new law will help protect students in school, by making it harder for younger kids to ask older, 18-year-old friends to buy vape products for them.

"We certainly appreciate the fact that now it's more difficult to bridge that social gap," said Thomas.

"My kids say that kids are vaping and I believe them," said Melinda Samberson – a Frisco parent and member of the Frisco ISD Council of PTAs.

"My 16-year-old is commenting that kids Juul in class," Samberson explained. "They go to the bathroom, the teachers can't see it because all they're doing is putting their hand to their mouth. These things are very, very small."

Frisco ISD says it's launching a prevention program aimed at 5th through 12th graders, starting this fall. 5th graders will learn a modified version of the 6th grade curriculum in the spring semester.

The lessons will address the health dangers, peer pressure and show students that not "everyone" is using e-cigarettes.

A program for parents on steps to keep a child from vaping and how to help them stop if they've started is scheduled for Sept. 18.

"I think it's going to be a larger problem if people bury their heads in the sand and don't realize it's a possibility for my child," said Samberson.

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