E-cigs grow in popularity at secondary schools, officials say

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DAVIS COUNTY -- E-cigarettes are growing in popularity with adults and now with children, according to school officials Monday.

The Davis County School District reported a growing problem in regulating the e-cigarettes on some high school and middle school campuses.

“Kids can puff them in class, and if a teacher isn’t necessarily aware 100 percent of the time with every student, it can be very challenging,” said Chris Williams, spokesman for Davis School District.

Davis school officials say there is a zero-tolerance policy for e-cigs on school grounds, but it’s harder to enforce because they are harder to recognize as opposed to a real cigarette.

“When we went to school years ago, if someone lit up in the bathroom you could definitely tell, you could smell it you could see a puff of smoke, but these e-cigs – there’s not necessarily a cloud – you suck in some vapor,” Williams said.

Because of the e-cigs' discrete appearance and minimal emission, hiding the device is easy, which makes regulation within schools difficult.

“I think the best thing we have going for ourselves is we have multiple eyes out there,” Williams said.

Some leaders in the vaping industry are also working to help combat the issue.

“There’s always been a reported problem of youth access throughout the state of Utah,” said Aaron Frazier with Utah Vapers. “Shops like this get really busy -- it’s really easy to potentially miss it by a year or two just because you’re not paying attention…”

To reduce the underage purchase of e-cigs, Utah Vaper has kicked off a pilot program with ID scanners to check customers are of legal age to buy the devices.

The program will run for a few weeks. If it’s successful Utah Vapers will implement the program in stores across the state that sells e-cigarettes.

It’s against the law to sell e-cigs to minors under the age of 19.