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SPECIAL REPORT: Underage smoking and vaping

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Vaping is a popular trend, especially with younger people, but there are still those in the Yuma community who try to speak out and discourage it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, last year, about one in every 30 middle school students reported they had used electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days.

While one out of every seven high school students used an e-cigarette in that same time span.

Yuma County is also dealing with this problem.

“Yes, for sure we do have a number of cases that come across our office or our desk with kids vaping in schools,” said Officer Cassandra Reed, Resource Officer at Ron Watson.

Reed said she gets to see how kids so young are already smoking.

However, what these kids don't realize is vaping can have severe consequences.

“Well, they can be long-term suspended. Right now our district is suspending for nine weeks and then there are also consequences legally within our police department where the juvenile is then referred to the Yuma County Justice Center for petty offenses typically is a first offense and then it climbs up from there,” said Officer Reed.

Apart from the legal aspect, there is also a health defect as well.

“If you’ve been smoking your whole life and you started when you were 18 or you started before 18, you’re looking at a really hard older life, something called COPD,” said Dr. Kristina Diaz.

Some patients are required to have external means of gathering oxygen because the body cannot absorb the oxygen they are breathing in.

Neverlow Glass Gallery Owner David Murray knows the dangers of vaping and the law, saying he makes sure he's not selling to minors.

“At the end of the day, it’s morals over money. So you got to choose to stick with morals and be here for your community instead of worrying about money today and making this much or this or that often with the vapes that’s the bottom line,” said Murray.

However, teenagers and minors are still able to get their hands on vapes.

Luckily, the people at Neverlow have been able to find a way to tackle this issue.

“And we’ve had things slip by us, especially with fake IDs it wasn’t until social media that I caught on to the fake IDs I started seeing the kids posting them like, got my fake ID, this way got my fake ID here so I was like oh this is what we got to watch for and we started catching things,” said Murray.

Sometimes these kids and teens get their vapes from their own family members.

“People have actually come in here with their older brother or sister whatever and the minor with them and tried to be like, hey what flavor do you want or stuff like that, and we just simply can’t sell to either one of them at that point,” said Murray.

While other times, these kids can sometimes get it at their own friends.

“Well most of the time in my experience, the cases that I’ve worked when you ask them where they’ve gotten it from, a lot of the times they’ll say their friend, and their friend turns out to be another juvenile maybe from the same school,” said Officer Fausto Cuevas.

There are also plenty of other dangers when it comes to buying from an external source rather than buying from a shop regardless of your age.

“You now can add things like THC or you can add other substances in there and you can actually get very sick or harmed by utilizing a device that you’re not sure what’s in it,” said Dr. Diaz.

For a while, there was a popular myth that vaping was the safer option, or even helped you get off of the nicotine addiction, but that is simply not the case.

“You still absorb the same amount of nicotine and the danger of using a vaping pen over a cigarette frankly they're both not good for you but really just being careful with how you choose to try to do smoking sensation,” said Dr. Diaz.

Article Topic Follows: Special Reports

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Eduardo Morales

Eduardo Morales joined KYMA as a reporter in September 2023. If you have any story ideas or tips, email him at


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