RCPS students to City Council: take action on youth vaping

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ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Several Roanoke City students addressed City Council Monday, asking for action regarding youth vaping.

They say vape products are easy to hide and come in candy flavors, so seeing these products in school is far from rare, even though they’re banned on RCPS campuses.

An RCPS spokesperson says, according to the Director of Student Services, vaping incidents are up in Roanoke City Schools, which mirrors a national trend.

Trinity Breedlove, Taylor Rooksberry, Mariah Mitchell, and Steven McKee are all eighth and ninth grade students in Roanoke City.

Each one agreed vaping – inhaling aerosol that usually contains nicotine, not tobacco – is a problem.

“I feel like people, nowadays, just- instead of alcohol and smoking like you might think, vaping is everywhere at school. And especially middle school as well, it’s not just high school,” said Breedlove.

They’re part of the Roanoke Youth Leadership Alliance, overseen by Roanoke Prevention Alliance’s J.D. Carlin, who helped them with this presentation.

It includes a specific call to action: mandating that businesses specifically state if they’re selling vape products, something they say isn’t currently a requirement.

“We just want to know where the vape and tobacco is being sold so it’s easier to go there and do compliance checks so we can see if they are selling it to younger children,” said Breedlove.

Carlin says it’s worth repeating that the younger someone starts using any addictive substance, the greater the odds they’ll have a long-term addiction.

As of July 1 of this year, it’s illegal to sell tobacco or vape products to anyone younger than 21 in Virginia.

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