Teens in Western New York discuss the truths about vaping

Posted at 3:35 AM, Oct 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 06:48:30-04

PENDLETON, N.Y. (WKBW) — Kassandra Kenny is a recovering addict at kids escaping drugs in Amherst. After using cocaine and heroin, it's vaping that she says has been the hardest to let go.

"My nicotine addiction was a lot worse than any other addiction I've had," Kenny said. "Nicotine is the biggest battle I have."

It's a battle that is now facing many teens.

Emma Weeks and Bella Gerbasi are juniors at Starpoint High School. They both vape.

"You can't just stop if you're addicted," Gerbasi said. "And then maybe help [addicts] go lower and lower on the nicotine scale," Weeks said.

Classmates who don't vape say it's not the packaging or the marketing that pulls teens in. It's the social fix.

"It's like a cliché almost. You know?" Jillian Luckman, a senior at Starpoint High School said. "It's like not like so much peer pressure. It's like the thing you do. Everyone straightens their hair so you're going to do it. Everybody vapes so you're going to do it too!"

And these teens will tell you – the solution isn't as simple as just taking their vape away.

"It doesn't really do anything; you just take away their vape pen and they get another one."

John Bennet, the program director at Kids Escaping Drugs, says students like Emma are right.

"A lot of times quitting cold turkey is very hard for adolescence to do," Bennet said. "The best step is to go down in duration and amount used."

Bennet also discusses methods you can implement within your family.

"The best things parents can do is model healthy behavior with their children," Bennet said. "Have communication, ongoing communication and good way to do that to make it less awkward is tie it in with news pieces such as this."