CHANTILLY, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - In response to what federal officials have called an epidemic of electronic cigarette use among youth a group of Chantilly teens have started a nonprofit aimed at keeping their classmates away from nicotine addiction.
The group is called "Teens Against Vaping" and began with a social media campaign. The founders have personal discussions with students at their school, Chantilly High School, about the dangers of smoking e-cigs or vaping.
The founding students have applied for their nonprofit status and eventually plan to travel the county and state to spread the message about why teens should avoid vaping.
"It's ruining these kids who don't know any better. It's ruining their lives," said Teens Against Vaping co-founder Will Wieder.
"We're coming to other teens as teens ourselves so I think that's an easier way for some victims to connect with us," said co-founder Kamal Mazhar.
The idea stems from reports last year that dozens of students were caught vaping at Franklin Middle School, from which Will Wieder, Ryan Vandervate and Kamal Mazhar graduated.
Late last year, the Surgeon General and Food and Drug Administration called vaping among teens an epidemic, announcing a plan to cut down on teen use of e-cigarettes.
Yale University researchers say some e-cig pods have as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. According to the FDA, nearly 4 million middle and high school students use e-cigs.