The use of vaping products among middle and high school students is skyrocketing.
The Centers for Disease Control says more than 25 percent of teenagers are vaping these days. That was the topic of a very candid conversation at Nashua South High School, where state and local leaders sat down with students Monday.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen hosted the discussion. She says the vaping crisis is one of the most important issues facing this younger generation.
"It's a direct delivery of nicotine into a young person's brain, and because they're not fully developed at that age, it has a greater impact than it does for adults," Shaheen explained.
When she asked the students how many of them have vaped or know someone who has vaped, almost every teenager in the room raised their hand.
"I think this last year, it's been a big thing," said Nashua South senior Ainsley Mazerolle.
"Vaping is prevalent," said another senior, Jeffrey Lamb.
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The CDC says six people have died from vaping-related complications and more than 450 people have reported severe respiratory illness. Those numbers have prompted a proposed federal ban on flavored vaping products and encouraging more discussions like this one.
"I think education is really important," Lamb said.
It seems some of the students, like Alexis St. Laurent, are getting the message.
"Because of the health issues, it's not worth it," she said.
But the truth is, in some cases, the damage is already done.
"I have friends who are addicted to it, at this point, and they can't go without it," said Nashua South junior Haleigh Swabowicz.
In an effort to stop students from starting to use e-cigarettes, New Hampshire just recently passed a law that bans all vaping products on school grounds.