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Vaping Soars Among High School Students; Concern Grows Among Duval Educators

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Lindsay Fox
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A new “ State of Tobacco Control” report from the American Lung Association concludes there has been a 78 percent increase in high school e-cigarette use over the last year.

Florida is among the states getting failing grades. It received Fs in four out of five categories that also include traditional tobacco products:

  • Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade [F]
  • Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws - Grade [B]
  • Level of State Tobacco Taxes - Grade [F]
  • Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco - Grade [F]
  • Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Grade [F]

Ann Gipalo is Vice-Chair of Tobacco Free Jacksonville and the Health and Safety Chair of the Duval County Council PTA. She appeared on Wednesday’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, along with Ashley Lyerly, Director of Advocacy in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi for the  American Lung Association; and Kristal Fuentes, Health Promotions Specialist for the American Lung Association.

Vaping is rapidly increasing among Duval County public high school kids, which Gipalo said is alarming educators.

“It’s everywhere. The kids have games they play, they post videos on YouTube, they have challenges where when the teacher turns her back to the class, the kids will vape and like, hide the vapor in the sleeve of their sweatshirt or something like that,” said Gipalo.

Related: Listen To The Full Interview With Gipalo

The ALA is sounding the alarm about e-cigarettes, calling on Florida lawmakers to not only discourage their use - but also to enact the provisions of Constitutional Amendment 9.

Approved last year by voters, it expands current smoke-free protections to include e-cigarettes.

Melissa Ross can be reached at, 904-358-6382 or on Twitter at @MelissainJax.

Photo used under Creative Commons license.

Copyright 2020 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit WJCT News 89.9.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.