Vaping is quickly becoming a topic D.A.R.E. officers have to learn more and more about every day. The problem many of them are seeing is that the statistics surrounding the use of e-cigarettes are not crystal clear.
Brett Warner teaches D.A.R.E. classes at 26 schools in northwest Ohio, and has been doing so for more than 20 years. His job is to educate students and give them real statistics about how many kids their age are actually doing drugs or drinking alcohol.
"A lot of the statistics that we share with them about alcohol and a lot of different drugs, it's sometimes shocking them to see that not everyone's really doing it," said Warner.
But when it comes to vaping, students are not shocked at all. Rather, they are telling officers statistics of their own.
"With the vaping we don't have good statistics to give them with that right now. So when I talk about that with 7th graders in particular and I talk about what they think the statistics would be, they are very adamant that the statistics for teens using vaping would blow the rest of the statistics out of the water," said Warner.
And from what we know now, they are right.
Studies presented in D.A.R.E. programs show kids as young as 12 are more likely to vape than smoke, a problem educators and people in northwest Ohio are recognizing. D.A.R.E. officers continue to incorporate vaping into their program by re-enforcing that vaping can lead to serious health problems.
Right now the Toledo Lucas County Health Department is conducting a tobacco prevention survey and are hearing from participants that vaping education is becoming more important.
"A lot of people are favoring vaping education. Because now its this big topic and there have been over 800 cases in the US," said Safa Ibraham, Tobacco Prevention Program Coordinator at the Toledo Lucas County Health Department.
"You can go to any school and talk to counselors and administrators who will tell you they are dealing with it quite often," said Warner.
To participate in the tobacco prevention study, click here