TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins and Sheriff Chad Chronister unveiled a public service announcement Thursday that aims at keep e-cigarettes out of schools -- and kids out of trouble.
In the PSA, which will air in every middle and high school in the county, the sheriff and superintendent warn students about the health risks and consequences of bringing a device like a vape pen or Juul to school.
"Using a vape pen might not seem like it's not a big deal," Eakins said in the PSA.
"But I'm here to tell you it can change your entire future," Chronister added.
Following the release of the video, the superintendent and sheriff discussed their goals.
"Our students have been kind of the audience here with regards to vaping and it's somewhat deceptive and we want to make sure our students are completely educated about the consequences," Eakins told FOX 13.
Students can be suspended for bringing a device into school.
Chronister said, if a student is caught with something illegal like THC in their device, they can be charged with a felony. That's something that they'd potentially have to deal with for the rest of their lives.
"You get arrested for a felony, it has tremendous impact," the sheriff explained. "You can't go into the service. You won't get accepted into colleges, your financial aid could be pulled. Difficult extremely difficult, to find gainful employment. So it's a game-changer, but not in a positive way."
Research has shown e-cigarettes can deliver high levels of nicotine, which can be very addictive.
Students told FOX 13 kids will even smoke the devices in class. Many are hopeful this effort is effective.
"There's definitely been a rise over the past few years of kids using vape pens and kids using Juuls and so we all generally understand why this is a problem, why it needs to be addressed," said Adam Rowam, who will be a senior at King High School. "There's obviously going to be kids who don't quite get the message, but this education is an important step in letting the general population know, 'Hey, this is a problem, this is what you're actually putting in your body and you can change it now by stopping.'"
Eakins said even bringing an empty device to school can result in discipline.