Attorney General Ashley Moody today hosted discussions with parents, teachers and law enforcement leaders in two Florida cities about the dramatic increase in teen vaping. The discussions are part of the Attorney General’s fact-gathering mission launched last month in Nassau County to learn more of this disturbing trend.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “I want to get to the bottom of this issue. These products cannot legally be bought by students under 18; however, these underage students are the largest population of users. At our first stop on our statewide fact-gathering mission, longtime career educators said that teen vaping is the greatest challenge they have ever faced. Today I heard similar testimonies from school officials and law enforcement in Oviedo and Sarasota.”
Today’s discussions focused on several key factors surrounding youth vaping, including how students are learning about e-cigarettes and how minors are getting a hold of these products. One in four Florida high school students are vaping, while only four percent of adults in Florida are vaping, as per a CDC report. The CDC also points out that juvenile nicotine exposure can harm brain development in ways that may affect the health and mental health of youth.
According to a Florida Department of Health study, more than 28 percent of students in Sarasota County and Seminole County use e-cigarettes. Additionally, Sarasota and Seminole counties rank fifth and 15th highest in the state for percent of student e-cigarette users who usually choose flavored electronic vapor.
Ahead of students returning to school, Attorney General Moody met with Sheriff Dennis Lemma, Superintendent Walt Griffin, Superintendent Todd Bowden, law enforcement officials and local teachers to discuss how each school district is trying to combat the rising rate of teen e-cigarette use in local schools.
In addition to visiting these three Florida counties, Attorney General Moody has spoken to various school superintendents, law enforcement officials and doctors regarding this spike in possession and use of e-cigarettes among children under 18.