Schools, health department launch new programs to curb teen vaping in Arizona

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- Vaping is an alarming trend among teens, and Arizona health officials say their number one priority is curbing teen vaping.

The state's Department of Health Services will launch an aggressive campaign against vaping in a few months. Meanwhile, some schools are also taking action.

Many school districts say they want to be pro-active, and prevent vaping or e-cigarettes from becoming an epidemic.

On Monday, Cave Creek Unified School District held two assemblies on the dangers of vaping for high school students.

"It was really good," said 9th Grader Emilie Linn. "I really enjoyed it."

"I think they informed us about a lot of stuff that some kids already knew, but I think its going to be useful for incoming freshmen," said 11th Grader Tyler Casas.

Organizers hope the assembly will get students to say no. Some say it worked.

"I thought I don't ever want to try it or do it in my life, because it's just to dangerous," said 9th Grader Kelsey Casas.

Officials with the Cave Creek Unified School District confirmed that more students are vaping or using e-cigarettes, and it's getting harder to catch because of sleek brands like Juul, which are disguised as flash drives.

"We really want parents to know what you were looking for," said Gina Durbin, the District's Director of Education and Community Services. "You can't really smell. There's no smoke. It's just vapor."

The principal of Cactus Shadows High School says students caught have to take a three-day course on vaping and its risks. Parents say they were made aware of this alarming trend from their children's schools.

"I've been really impressed with our school district and really making sure her parents are education informed," said Kristen Paisley-Casas.

"They're very aware of it. It's definitely something that's discussed amongst their school and friends, and has been part of our discussion since middle school," said Chris Linn.

Currently, Cactus Shadows High School is also holding a forum for parents to learn about the warning signs, and how to start the conversation with their kids about saying no to vaping. Officials say its up to the parents to teach their kids about the dangers and risks.