Vaping, a Nebraskan epidemic

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. Due to recent illness and deaths in the United States resulting from e-cigarettes and vape products have placed them the national spotlight.

Girl vaping. (SOURCE: Pixabay)

Nebraska recently passed Legislative Bill 149 which will place stricter laws on vaping.

Effective January 2020 distributors will be required to have a license to sell the products, much like tobacco.

With minors becoming a major consumer, the law will implement 19 as the legal age to possess vape pens or e-cigarettes. You also have to be 19 in order to enter a dedicated vape shop unless with a parent or guardian.

Officer Beth Kerr of the North Platte Police Department said this bill will help the community.

"The new legislation that's coming into play is going to put a lot more requirements on vape shop employees and the owners and hopefully can prevent a lot more of these products getting into [the hands] of minors."

The 'Vaping Epidemic' has started to influence children.

"I know in the last year and a half we've been catching kids as young as 9-10 years old with vape products," said Kerr.

"They're seeing younger and younger kids who are in possession of these vape pens and they're using them. They're finding out the amount of liquid they're using to consume is equal to 2-3 packs of cigarettes."

Principal Scott Siegel of North Platte High School said the school has a program in place when a student is caught vaping.

Along with a suspension, a student is encouraged to complete an online education program explaining the harmful effects of vaping and smoking.