TAMPA, Fla. - Experts say vaping among high school students has reached crisis levels, but some students are appealing to their peers to stay away from the harmful habit.
Durant High School Senior Miranda Bihler has taken it upon herself to educate parents and other students about the dangers.
She says, most of the time, parents of students who vape don’t even know their children are doing it.
The auditorium at Durant was full of parents Thursday. They showed up, ready to learn.
"We didn't even think of vaping as something going on with the kids and now it's everywhere," parent Sandra Zabala said.
The session was held to shed light on the rapidly rising use of electronic cigarettes among young people.
The CDC says the number of vaping related injuries has grown by 8% just in the last week. More than 2,000 confirmed cases have been reported in the U.S.
"It's more common than uncommon. It's a lot easier to find someone who has seen it, heard of it or maybe even tried it before, than to find someone that is completely guilt-free from being exposed to this material," Bihler said.
Durant Principal Gary Graham says it's an issue he and his staff deal with weekly, if not daily.
“We're seeing students on the National Honor Roll Society. We're seeing students that will struggle to graduate. Students from good socio-economic status and students from poor socio-economic status. It's affecting everyone," Graham said.
Bihler added, "We need to take these safety precautions and safety measure from of stopping or never starting vaping in order to affect change."
This week, Hillsborough County commissioners unanimously approved a new ordinance, raising the legal age to buy electronic vaping products from 18 to 21. The federal government is also considering a measure to ban flavored vaping products from being sold in stores.
Miranda's event was part of her Girl Scout Honor Award requirement. Her ultimate goal is for parents to learn more about the issue so they can identity if their child is an active user.