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Teen vaping has doubled in Connecticut since 2015

GLASTONBURY, Conn. (WTNH) - Seven students at Seymour High School are recovering after sharing a vape pen that was packed with marijuana. 

It's just the latest problem with e-cigs at Connecticut schools.

State data shows almost 15 percent of high school students have tried it. The number has doubled since 2015. 

Has teen vaping reached epedemic levels? What can be done about it?

Those were the questions U.S Senator Richard Blumenthal asked a group of Glastonbury High School students on Friday.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said, "There is no government oversight about the quality of the ingredients that go into vaping products. or the mechanisms for using them." 

Amelia Neurath, a 10th grade student said "It's everywhere. You walk into the school bathrooms - they're in a circle vaping." 

Blumenthal introduced a bill in congress to fund and support the CDC's efforts to tame teen vaping. 

Sophomore Amelia Neurath is part of an advisory council that warns students of the dangers.

Related: Juvenile arrested after multiple Seymour High students hospitalized from sharing vape pen

"People are so addicted to it and it's sad," said Neurath.

The State Department of Public Health is in the process of collecting data on teen usage rates.

Barbara Walsh, Program Coordinator of the Tobacco Control Program at CT Department of Public Health said, "And we know for sure that the numbers will be higher, unfortunately." 

The department started data collection in 2011. In six years the rates increased dramatically.

"It was like 2.4 percent the first year and in that period of time it's gone from 2.4 to 14.7," Walsh said. 

Experts say the high levels of nicotine in vape pods and kid-friendly marketing with flavors are causing addiction.

Related: Lamont; hike "sin taxes," raise smoke/vape age

High schools like Glastonbury have created programs to work with teen offenders caught on campus. 

Lori Lacapra, an Outreach Social Worker from Glastonbury Youth & Family said, "None of those students in my mind are bad kids. They're kids that made a bad choice, had a problem of some sort are dealing with an issue, are struggling, are learning." 

Sen. Blumenthal says his vaping bill is aimed at education, oversight, and community outreach. It would provide the CDC with a half a billion dollars over five years.


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