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Niles school officials learning more about vaping dangers

NOW: Niles school officials learning more about vaping dangers

NILES, Mich. — School leaders in Niles got a whiff of a trend increasing among students: vaping. 

Vaping was first marketed as a way for adults to quit smoking, and now its finding its way into schools nationwide, even in southwest Michigan. 

“I think it’s a problem for every district right now across the board in Berrien County,” said Kelly Laesch, with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office. 

In high schools, like Niles High School down to middle schools, Laesch said they’re confiscating vape pens, vape pods, and other related products. Some students Laesch said have been expelled for using at school, which Niles High School parent Darla Schneider said is fair. 

“It’s still against rules and regulations it’s against the law it’s just like the cigarettes or alcohol they’re underage,” said Schneider. 

You have to be 18-years-old to buy a vape, but the State of Michigan’s already banned the sale of vape products. Earlier this month Governor Gretchen Whitmeyer halted sales statewide. 

State legislators have fought to keep them on shelves for now, but state officials said there’s a legitimate issue with minors vaping in Michigan. 

Niles Community School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Dan Applegate said he doesn’t know how many of his students are vaping. But after seeing reports of serious vape related illness he said it’s important his staff be educated. 

“That’s what we need to do inform and educate them so we can protect against this hazard,” said Dr. Applegate. 

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