Watch CBS News

Teen Vaping: Rep. Diana DeGette Asks Denver Students Why They Started Using E-Cigarettes

DENVER (CBS4) -- U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) met with a group of Denver high school students for a discussion about vaping. Degette talked with more than a half-dozens students at South High School about their experiences using various vaping products, what drew them to try the product in the first place, and why they believe it's become so popular among students in Colorado and around the country.

VAPING ADDITIVES 6PKG.transfer_frame_2139
The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division aims to ban three additives from vaping products. (credit: CBS)

"Nobody knows this problem better than the kids themselves," Rep. DeGette said ahead of the meeting. "We want to know what's drawing our students to use these potentially dangerous products. And then we want to take their stories with us back to Washington as we confront the companies that make them."

The school's public health professional stated they are seeing a growing number of students who started vaping in middle school -- and many don't even realize they are addicted.

RELATED: Colorado Teens Say It's Easy To Get Around Vaping Laws

According to a 2017 survey of teen tobacco use by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, nearly 27% of Colorado kids admit to using e-cigarettes. When broken down by grade level, the survey estimates e-cigarette use increases with age. According to the survey, 18% of high school freshman admit to using e-cigarettes, while 34% of high school seniors do.

FDA Declares Teen Use Of Electronic Cigarettes An "Epidemic'
Electronic cigarettes and pods by Juul (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Degette's meeting with the students comes just days before she is scheduled to chair a congressional panel hearing with the heads of the nation's five largest e-cigarette manufacturers – JUUL, NJOY, Fontem, Logic and Reynolds American.

At the hearing scheduled for Feb. 5, DeGette plans to grill the executives on how they market their products, the health effects and how the companies plan to curb use by children and teens.

RELATED: 'Simple To Keep It Hidden': Former Teen Vaping Addict Has Advice For Adults

The Colorado QuitLine, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, offers free FDA-approved treatments. In July, National Jewish Health launched its own, teen-specific vaping and tobacco cessation program, called "My Life, My Quit."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.