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.
"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.
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.
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.
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."
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