By Stephanie Stahl


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Teenagers are in the dark about the dangers of vaping e-cigarettes, according to new research. More than 1.3 million high school students started vaping nicotine in the past year and it has become an epidemic, as a study shows teenagers don’t know e-cigarettes are addictive and can damage their lungs.

Kaitlin Meyers and Daven Terner have both seen firsthand how popular vaping is in high school.

“I know a lot of people that vape and it’s constant, especially in the beginning of the school year, everybody had it in the hallway,” said Daven, a freshman.

The use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed, especially among adolescents and teenagers, as many are under the false assumption that it’s harmless.

“If they knew, then nobody would be doing this as much,” said Daven.

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A new study says many teenagers aren’t aware how much nicotine they’re getting when they vape.

Researchers surveyed people under 21 about their tobacco, e-cigarette and marijuana habits. They found 40% who used in the past week didn’t realize their products contained nicotine but tests showed they had significant levels of the chemical in their system.

“These kids are using very high content products and they are potentially going to get addicted and they don’t know what is going on,” said Dr. Rachel Boykan, of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.

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Schools nationwide and in the Philadelphia region now have programs to warn kids about the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes.

“They’ve heard enough from adults and stuff, I feel like it would be more effective to hear it from us,” said Daven.

“We want to go there to give them the information of the dangerous chemicals in it and the risk of addiction,” said Kaitlin, a junior.

They hope kids get the message so they never get hooked.

Researchers also say the chemicals from vaping can cause inflammation and a variety of dental problems, including bad breath.

Stephanie Stahl