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Congress considers increasing tobacco, vaping age to 21

Posted at 9:03 PM, May 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-21 22:03:58-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — School districts across Kansas and Missouri spent the school year dealing with a teen vaping problem, and now Congress is trying to put more restrictions on tobacco.

41 Action news talked to high school students about the vaping issue in metro schools.

"It has happened to me before and they are like, 'Hey, let me hit your vape,'” a female student named Dezzy said Tuesday.

"I have to admit, yes, I have vaped,” an 11th grade student named Jonathan said.

When 41 Action News talked with Blue Springs School District Police Chief Tom Phillips in December, his team had confiscated more than 40 vaping devices.

"Well we are well over 100 now,” Phillips said.

If a student is caught with a vape or e-cig they will be suspended for 10 days.

"It is getting out to the public how dangerous it is," Phillips said. "We include that in our vaping class, when you get caught you go to our vaping class."

The dangers of vaping have been talked about a lot on Washington D.C. The U.S. Surgeon General called teen use a national epidemic.

Some in Congress, including Sen. Pat Roberts (R - Kansas) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R -Missouri) support a law raising the tobacco buying age from 18 to 21.

We asked students who obtain vapes illegally, how do they get them?

"Some of us have friends that are older that can buy them, or our parents will," Dezzy said. "There are some vape stores that if they know you, they will help you out."

"There are many places you can get them, it doesn’t have to be super expensive ones, you can get them for like $20 on Amazon or Wish and all different types of sites,” Jonathan said.

Phillips says they won’t be able to prevent every teen from using them, but he thinks education will go a long way.

"I don't know that you can stop it, but that is why the education part is so important, so the kids don't want to do it and aren't asking for someone to get it for them,” Phillips said.