What parents and grandparents need to know about vaping

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — The health dangers of vaping and what parents and grandparents should know were the focus of a presentation at The Center, where the Virginia Department of Health talked about the surging rates of vaping use among young people,

Virginia is fighting back against multi-million dollar vaping ad campaigns trying to get young people hooked on the nicotine product.

One of the reasons why parents and seniors should know about vaping devices is they can be hacked.

Sally Goodquist, with the Thomas Jefferson Health District, says parents need to keep up with the changes.

"These devices are meant to be used as tobacco products so they contain nicotine, but in some cases, young people can learn how to break open and add in their own marijuana oil or other substances as well," she said.

The health department also cautions against a popular e-cigarette, JUUL, which is shaped like a USB flash drive.

JUUL also delivers a high dose of nicotine and can harm adolescent brain development.

Experts at UVA warn that there is a misconception that vaping is safe, but the nicotine levels can be dangerously high, and the vapor contains other chemicals that might be hazardous, especially to young people.

Dr. Serwa Ertl said some people are using Juul to try to quit smoking, but the high nicotine levels in the vapor are making some of them more addicted.

Anti-tobacco and health groups have called on the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates e-cigarettes, to investigate Juul's marketing efforts across TV, radio and other formats.

"Juul, a product that FDA has found to be largely responsible for the current epidemic of youth usage of highly addictive e-cigarettes, is being advertised and marketed on a massive scale as a smoking cessation product, without the required review and approval by FDA," said the letter from the American Heart Association, the Truth Initiative, the American Academy of Pediatrics and three other groups.

In a statement, FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said only that the agency "continues to closely scrutinize potentially false, misleading or unsubstantiated claims" to make sure the public is "not misled into mistakenly using inherently dangerous tobacco products for medical uses."

Neither Juul nor any other e-cigarette has been approved by the FDA to help smokers quit.

Indeed, Juul's website carries the disclaimer: "Juul products are not intended to be used as cessation products, including for the cure or treatment of nicotine addiction."

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