Kids hiding their vaping devices in plain sight, Fresno County health survey says

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Instead of puffing on electronic cigarettes and blowing clouds of smoke, many vaping devices look like school supplies you find inside of a backpack.

"Some of the things parents could look out for could be flash drives. Some of these devices look like flash drives. The Juul. Some of them also look like slick ballpoint pens," said health education specialist, Gifty Kwofie.

The devices can be hard to detect because instead of a plume of smoke you might just get a hint of the sweet smell of many flavors.

"It doesn't have a stink smell. It might smell like chocolate," Gifty said.

A new survey by the Fresno County Health Department showed less than 2% of kids smoke regular cigarettes but 8.4% use electronic cigarettes.

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2,627 students between 8th and 12th grade were surveyed. Many vaping devices are designed to hide a dangerous nicotine habit.

Fresno Unified Health Services Director Jane Banks says many kids are introduced to vaping in elementary school so it's important kids and parents are educated.

"Students don't understand that even though it shows cotton candy-flavored or it shows fruit punch that it's harmful to your brain. There are chemicals in this that can cause cancer," Banks said.

Schools are dealing with more students showing the after-effects of vaping.

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"Increased heart rates. Not feeling well. A lot of it is increasing anxiety and so we're seeing a lot more students in our health offices," Banks said.

Students have also been caught holding products with high THC levels

Results showed a third of the Fresno County kids had tried marijuana. 16% of them had used it within 30 days of the survey.
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