Health department links lung disease to vaping

SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) - The Texas Department of Health Services released a study on Friday linking lung disease to vaping.

According to the 2018 Texas Youth Tobacco Survey, about 19% of high school students and 6% of middle school students admitted to using an e-cigarette.

Owners of Texoma Top Shelf vape shop want people to know that teens shouldn't have vapes in the first place and that they're not using them for their intended purpose.

"It's not for them. It's for people that want to quit smoking and we've turned people away left and right," shop owner Jarvis Neans said.

Neans said that vapes are not meant to be used by people with no history of smoking.

A study done by the Texas Department of Health Services links vaping to lumps and swelling of the lungs, as well as "popcorn lung" which is scarring of the lungs' air sacs.

Neans says this is likely a result of vaping THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, which is illegal in Texas.

"What we find out is if you dig in a little deeper on that, you'll find out a lot of them are vaping the THC cartridges," Neans said.

Sherman ISD held an educational assembly in March to educate parents, teachers and students about the dangers.

"We joined forces with other Grayson County schools to address the situation, again it's not just an isolated situation to our school district or our area, it's nationwide," Sherman ISD Director of Communications Kimberly Simpson said.

Neans said they don't sell devices like the Juul, which uses the highly concentrated nicotine salts.

"Nicotine salt, it's different, it gets into your bloodstream quicker and kids get their hands on it. When I say kids I mean minors, and they tend to vape that," Neans said.

Both Neans and Simpson agree that education on the topic is crucial.

Starting September 1st, Texas legislature has changed the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21.