Sioux Falls School District educates students about the potential dangers of vaping

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - The South Dakota Department of Health has reported two confirmed cases of vaping related illnesses in the state. The people who are being treated are between 20-24 years old.

South Dakota is now the 33rd state to see this type of illness. And schools are taking steps to get kids to kick the habit.

According to the South Dakota Department of Health, in 2017, the number of middle school students using tobacco products dropped, but e-cigarette use has jumped to more than 8%. Just this past year, the state's largest school district updated policies to ban the use of vaping devices on school properties. They are working on getting students to stop using e-cigs.

"I think we have a lot of kids that do it, without a doubt," Dr. Brian Maher, Sioux Falls School District Superintendent, said.

All tobacco products are banned from school grounds regardless if you're 18 or not. Students caught with tobacco products could be suspended up to ten days.

Not only is the district changing policies, but school nurses are also studying and sharing information with students and parents through social media, newsletters, and posters.

"We provided professional development last year, a couple of different times on vaping products," Molly Satter, Sioux Falls School District health services coordinator, said.

The use of e-cigarettes can be hard to detect since many can look like a flash drive or a USB. Dr. Maher says it can be tough to figure out if a student is using that vaping device versus smoking a cigarette. But, they are hoping students will come forward and talk to school leaders if they see a student vaping.

"We have had students police their own student body, by informing us," Dr. Maher said. "It has been part of the "See Something Say Something" model that we have."

For those who use an e-cigarette device or if parents notice their child is vaping there are a few things you can do: reach out to someone; ideally a parent, talk to someone at school; whether that's a nurse or a teacher, or use a nation-wide service to help quit.

You can also call the South Dakota QuitLine at 1-866-737-8487.

The CDC is also recommending individuals consider not using e-cigarette products as the investigation continues. The organization wants to remind people not to buy products off the street and should not modify e-cigarette products, or add any substances, such as illicit THC.