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TSET warns of vapes disguised as school supplies

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Posted at 4:34 PM, Aug 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-18 07:20:25-04

TULSA, Okla. — As students return to the classroom, there’s a new concern for educators. It’s a threat to the health of students, hiding in plain sight.

The Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, or TSET, said 1 in 4 Oklahoma high school students admitted to vaping in the last 30 days. And now vapes can blend in with school supplies.

In the last five years, TSET said vaping has come to the forefront of tobacco use by kids. They said big tobacco companies are targeting kids with fruity flavors and decoy packaging.

“There are a lot of vaping devices out there that can look like common school supplies like highlighters, pens, and USB drives. I’ve got one right here, this is a banana ice puff bar, and of course, it looks like it could just be a highlighter, you wouldn’t think anything of it if you saw that in your kid’s backpack,” said the Director of Communications and Outreach Thomas Larsen.

Larsen said when kids start using tobacco products it can lead to a host of other issues down the road.

“Kids who start vaping are more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes later in life and that comes with a whole lot of cognitive issues, learning difficulties, anxiety, and things like that,” said Larsen.

He said the best way to stop kids from vaping is through education.

“It is a lot for parents and teachers to navigate and that’s why we’re trying to raise awareness of what these products might look like. You can see pictures on our website and just be aware. Watch your kids and of course, the best thing to do is talk to your kids,” said Larsen.

Larsen said vaping can cause mood swings in kids as well as irritability and impulsivity. He said if you see these behavior changes, have a conversation with your child and if you do think they’re vaping there are countless avenues for guidance and help.

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