Vaping concerns in Montgomery County middle schools

BETHESDA, Md. (FOX 5 DC) -- School may be out, but Montgomery County officials are still working to keep your children safe.

On Thursday, council members and public health leaders held a meeting to discuss what measures need to be taken to address vaping in county schools.

Statistics show that vaping inside schools all across the county have increased, but it's not just happening in high schools, students are now vaping in middle schools.

"The most significant rise in the use of these products is students as young as the middle school level are accessing them," said Gabe Albornoz, chairman of the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Committee.

Leaders are spearheading an educational approach to the problem by speaking with area businesses that sell the products, providing schools with educational tools for students and parents and working with federal representatives by cracking down on online sales.

"We also will be looking at regulations that are currently in place to see if these need to be tweaked to address the ongoing issue," said Albornoz.

FOX 5 spoke to several vape shops in the county who agree that vaping shouldn't be allowed in schools, But the consensus among these business owners is the product is better than traditional cigarettes. County health officials beg to differ.

"Emotional center, your executive decision-making center, your moral center, all those kinds of things so even if kids are vaping nicotine that early exposure can impact those pathways from being formed," said Travis Gayles, the Montgomery County Chief of Health Services.

This meeting was predominantly a conversation that spurred several ideas. County officials say they will remain vigilant in the fight to reduce vaping in schools by all means.