MILL CREEK, Wash. -- You've likely seen the headlines when it comes to teenagers who vape; it has become an epidemic throughout the country and region. In Mill Creek, some students decided to take matters in their own hands by pledging not to vape.
For Henry M. Jackson High School student Katerina Vaagen, this pledge movement started on social media. The idea was simple: Get the word out and then have students put their signature down on paper.
Vaagen tells Q13 News that the turnout was bigger than expected.
The number of lung-related injuries and deaths related to vaping throughout the country is what made Vaagen take action, she said. Vaagen just wanted to do something to make sure others don't get hurt.
On Tuesday at Jackson High School, during both of the students' lunch periods, hundreds of students took that pledge. Vaagen hopes that the dangers of young people vaping gets through to others.
"Kids can't keep thinking, this is ok. It's not better in any way, than any other drugs. And it's ridiculous to keep thinking to do this to yourself, without knowing the effects of it," she said.
According to the Washington State Department of Health, there have been 12 cases of lung injuries related to vaping since April of this year. Four of those cases were patients between 10 and 19 years old.
For Jackson High Principal Dave Peters, times have changed.
"Ten years ago, we saw lots of cigarettes, and chew and that kind of thing. And I'd say within the last two or three years, we have seen zero of the real cigarettes and chewing tobacco. It's all just grown into the electronic cigarette types of devices," Peters said.
Peters said the pledge drive was student-led, and that it encouraged students who may have been on the fence about vaping to reconsider.
Along with this, the Everett School District is hosting three parent education nights about vaping. The first one is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at Eisenhower Middle School.