Madison, Miss. (WLBT) - The number of illnesses linked to vaping continues to grow.
Public health officials say that nationwide there have been 215 possible cases and one death -- all reporting vaping or using e-cigarette products before their illness.
One local school district is taking steps to tackle the growing epidemic among teens.
“When you look at the flavors and opportunities that vape provide, we have seen an increase of vape use of teens across and here is no different,” said Madison Central High School principal Sean Brewer.
At the school, vaping and products associated with it are banned from the grounds.
Principal Brewer says as part of a pilot program, the school has started installing vaping detectors in some restrooms. It’s not a camera, but it’s triggered by vapors, smoke and abnormal noise.
“It has a sensing mechanism that is determining the air quality and the fumes a vape would make when it is released," Brewer explains. “When a sensor is triggered it sends a message to use via text message or email that there is an issue in one of these restrooms that we can go check on. There’s also a listening device will pick up excessive noise, the kind that you would see in a fight or a bullying situation.”
Dr. Paul Byers with the Mississippi State Department of Health says they are partnering with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and other states in alerting the public to severe lung disease associated with the use of e-cigarette products.
While there have been no cases reported here in Mississippi, there have been numerous cases across the country.
“What we are seeing is many folks have you use cannabis products; things like THC or CBD and in some cases have purchased these off the streets, so we certainly recommend that individuals don’t that,” Dr. Byers said
Principal Brewer agrees. He says tackling teen vaping could save lives.
“The importance is to try to limit that used and give it off our campus and try to teach teens, at the same time, that it’s a dangerous thing and you should avoid using it.”