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Traveling nurse gives local middle school students a dose of reality on vaping

CDC reports 1 in 4 high school students vape daily

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA) - Lawmakers and health officials in the United States have declared the vaping epidemic as a national health crisis.

While progress has stalled on a federal flavored vaping ban, one nurse is taking it upon herself to make changes by going straight to the consumer, teenagers.

Life is a matter of choices and teenagers are presented with so many.

What to wear, who to be friends with, or where to sit at a school assembly.

Nurse Linda Dutil has been speaking at middle and high schools across the nation about choices for 20 years.

She gives pre-teens and teens a dose of reality about underage drinking and drug use.

However, from 2018 to 2019, Dutil has noticed a new option up for grabs.

“Absolutely every school nationwide that I go to now, the first thing that they ask is can you talk about vaping,” she said.

This is also a message Woodard Jr. High’s Principal, Danny Acosta, has been fighting to get through to students and parents for months.

Nurse Dutil says the nation is looking at a whole generation of kids who will be addicted to nicotine.

Some, who may have never considered smoking the traditional cigarette.

“When it comes down to it, vaping is all about nicotine,” Dutil said.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows one in four high school students vape on a regular basis.

This year, the company 'Juul' was accused of marketing flavored e-cigarettes to teenagers.

Dutil recalled, “Teenagers are telling me they vape and there’s no nicotine.”

But even without the nicotine, Dutil says vaping coats the lungs with harmful chemicals.

“There are some chemicals in that vape pen, maybe not as many as a traditional cigarette. Then you have the vaporized mists of liquid going into your lungs, which were meant for oxygen and air.”

This year alone, the CDC reports more than 2,200 people have suffered severe vaping-related lung illnesses.

Nearly 50 people have died.

“We’ve never seen anything like the illnesses that have been caused by vaping,” Dutil said.

The traveling nurse's mission is not to scare the students, rather explain the dangers of vaping through storytelling and interactive demonstrations.

Dutil shared, “I think that students need to realize that they have the power to make good choices and no one can take that away from them."

Nurse Linda Dutil visited Fourth Avenue Junior High, Gila Vista Middle School, and Woodard Junior High on her trip to Yuma.

She's heading to Phoenix next.

News / Top Stories / Yuma County

Aziza Shuler

Aziza Shuler joined KYMA in March 2019 wearing many hats including the newest anchor and producer for FOX 9, as well as a multi-media journalist for KYMA.

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