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(This is the fourth in a series of reports on the 2019 Teen Maze in Toombs County)

March 1--  Smoking is down among teenagers, but vaping is up and that's not a good thing according to Ursula Spence with Rural Health Works.

ursulasigs"There was a 78% increase in 2018 of high school students vaping these nicotine cartridges and a 48% increase among middle school students.  The unfortunate part is when these young brains are developing, users are introducing nicotine into their system which are increasing nicotine receptors on their brain which in turn will turn them into some kind of addict of nicotine down the line."

Spence and representatives from the Central Georgia Cancer Coalition spoke with 8th graders during the Teen Maze and warned them about chemicals associated with vaping.

"Recently the Food and Drug Administration removed the use of Diacetyl in vape cartridges because it's a chemical that's been linked to lung cancer and other cancers.  It's a horrible combination of addiction and trying to show that it's safer than smoking.  Smoking and vaping are not safe and kids should just stay away," according to Spence.

"They are unaware that one vaped puff is the equivalent of two cigarette's worth of nicotine.  Kids might smoke the entire cartridge in a day and that's 20 packs of cigarettes in one day worth of nicotine that they are exposing their brains to," she noted.

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