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Column: Vaping Among High School Students Is More Common Than You Can Think | Shakopi's opinion

I recently stopped at my regular station to get gas. At the top of the pump was a colorful and decorative element that was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand. Someone put it there and forgot it.

I suppose I'm lagging behind because I decided it was some kind of work of art. I showed it to my high school son, who corrected me right away. I don't know if I should be impressed or worried that he knew it was a vaping device called Drop, and as he pointed out, it was really nice. He said it would cost about $ 50 new.

I've been hearing about vaping for several years. I saw people breathing on them, and the devices looked like a flash drive or a thumb. It turns out that there is a huge range of vaping products and accessories on the market.

Many of the people I've seen vaping are teenagers. One day last spring, I was in the parking lot of the high school and saw a few students lounging on their way to their cars. I know a few children and I was disappointed to see them do it. They are smart, athletic, polite and yet they do something incredibly stupid.

If you have a son or daughter in high school, it is likely that he or she has been vaping.

Electronic cigarettes and vaping devices are covered by our state's tobacco articles, which means that one must be 1

8 years of age to buy one. Well, as we know, teenagers tend to circumvent obstacles such as laws that prohibit the sale of minors. I am told that there are kids at school who sell vaping products to other people and they probably make a nice profit from it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 38% of middle school students and 13% of middle school students have tried vaping at least once. These percentages may be low because they are based on self-reporting.

The problem, like tobacco, is that vaping carries a number of health risks. Consumers put nicotine and chemicals directly into their bodies, and we know the dangers they face.

It is interesting how tobacco culture has changed over the years. When I was a kid, smoking was a common thing. I remember my League coach saying that my father smoked two packs during each of our games. Now I know only a handful of people who smoke, and lighting in general frowns on social conditions. The bad news is that vaping deletes the progress made towards less smoking by teenagers.

Ten years ago, Minnesota passed the 2007 Freedom to Breath Act, which bans smoking in workplaces, including bars and restaurants. At the time, I felt that the government was overdoing it and had to let the business decide on its own if it wanted to allow its customers to smoke indoors.

Now I'm happy about the legislation. I take a smoke-free environment for granted until I travel to a place like Las Vegas, where smoking is still allowed in most hotels and casinos. Then it reminds me that smoking really smells and smoke gets into my hair and clothes.

The Respiratory Freedom Act has been expanded or clarified to prohibit electronic cigarettes and to circulate in most public indoor spaces in Minnesota. But it's hard to impose.

Vaping is marketed as more acceptable to society than tobacco and does not have a strong, lasting odor. In fact, some vaping scents are created to smell like candy. Still, vaping is still so addictive, some say even more addictive than tobacco. In other words, this is not something we want our children or friends of our children to do.

Brett Martin is a community colonist who has lived in Shakopee for over 15 years.

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