MARSHALL COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) – If you have kids in school, they will encounter this danger. It’s in every district in the Ohio Valley and the temptation is creeping into younger grades. 

7News is talking about vaping.

At first thought you may think “oh it’s supposed to be safer than cigarettes”. Well, think again. 

Prevention officials say it’s not. 

There are chemicals and drugs so dangerous inside these vape cartridges, that using it once can kill you. 

Students in schools are carrying around these devices. Some are already addicted to deadly drugs and they don’t even know it. 

I just cringe thinking about the things these kids are going to be exposed to.

Lisa Ingram, WVU Extension Agent, Marshall County 

Would you drink formaldehyde? Would you let your child or teen drink antifreeze? What about benzyne?

All these ingredients are commonly found in vape juices.

When we had one of the vapes tested, it was urine.

Stacy Bishop, Public Affairs Specialist, US District Attorney’s Office for the Northern District 

What about something worse?

Kids are vaping methamphetamine and they don’t know it. Kids are vaping heroin, and they don’t know it.

Stacy Bishop, Public Affairs Specialist, US District Attorney’s Office for the Northern District 

In some cases, it’s marketed as candy, but it’s much more dangerous and even deadly. 

If you can’t get through the school day without sneaking this into the bathroom or sneaking it into your sleeve during the class period, then welcome to addiction.

Stacy Bishop, Public Affairs Specialist, US District Attorney’s Office for the Northern District 

Vaping is taking over the Ohio Valley’s schools. 

Some ingredients that wouldn’t dare allow your kids to go near are actually proven to be in vape juices.

I’ve been in the school system for about eight years now. When I started here it was still the normal tobacco, cigarettes and leafless tobacco, snuff. That’s what we seen a lot of then. Here lately this has exploded.

This is everywhere. I’m in communication with a lot of other resource officers in our schools throughout the state, not just the Ohio Valley. Statewide this is an epidemic.

Cpl. Shawn Mayle, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, School Resource Officer

Behind brightly colored packaging can contain enough nicotine equal to an entire pack of cigarettes. THC that causes a high in young kids was also found in some cases. Some vapes even contain a substance called Delta 8. It’s technically legal, but not for those under 21-years-old. Experts say even though it’s legal, it’s still dangerous.

Even deadly drugs like fentanyl. It’s tasteless, colorless and kids don’t know it’s there. 

If it doesn’t kill them, it’s going to get them hooked really quickly so they keep going back, but if it does kill them drug dealers don’t care. They’ve got 15 other customers behind them.

Stacy Bishop, Public Affairs Specialist, US District Attorney’s Office for the Northern District 

So, how are these dangerous chemicals ending up in our schools?

A group of prevention experts explained some of it is because vaping isn’t heavily regulated. That means kids are inhaling chemicals that can do permanent damage. 

These kids are purchasing these things off-line. They don’t know if they’re getting them from the manufacturer or getting them from somebody who’s putting stuff in them making these things in their basement. Kids are looking for a cheaper price and the bad guys know this as well. If they can put a material in there or a chemical in there just to fill the capsule they may not know what they’re smoking.

Cpl. Shawn Mayle, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, School Resource Officer

It is made and approved to eat, it is not made to inhale.

Lisa Ingram, WVU Extension Agent, Marshall County 

The few substances that are regulated have an age limit, but using underage can mean permanent brain damage. 

Their frontal lobe is still growing, and it’s not really done until the age of 21.

Stacy Bishop, Public Affairs Specialist, US District Attorney’s Office for the Northern District 

Some students are purchasing from dealers, ever knowing what they’re actually getting. 

If you think there’s no damage, and kids can just stop, think again. 

A disorder called “popcorn lung” that constricts airflow when your breathing doesn’t sound fun, right?

It’s happening to our kids.

Ingram, who is a former respiratory therapist, explained that the first cases of “popcorn lung” were identified in workers at a microwave popcorn factory. It came from inhaling a chemical called diacetyl that was in the butter flavoring. It’s FDA approved to eat, not to inhale, which is what these workers were doing.

They were actually destroying the very small airways in their lungs. Those tiny airways were being damaged, scarred. Once they scar, that is irreparable damage. Inhalation is a whole other problem.

Lisa Ingram, WVU Extension Agent, Marshall County 

It’s also what people who use vapes are doing, because diacetyl is used in some of the flavorings.

There’s another disorder that is requiring treatment from vape users called “EVOLI”, which stands for “e-cigarette adn vaping associated lung injury”. This happens when THD and Vitamin E Acetate combine in the juices. Another combination that’s not meant to be inhaled.

What about pouring hot grease down your lungs? That’s essentially what happens with the oil in vapes. 

Corporal Mayle likens it to frying an egg. When you heat the oil, similar to the oil heating in vapes, it’s liquid. When that oil cools in the pan, it’s thick.

That vape sticks to the lungs. Sure they exhale some, but not all of it comes out. So, when that cools down now that is that hard grease stuck to your lungs. After time it gets thicker and thicker. The lining of their lungs can stick together.

Cpl. Shawn Mayle, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, School Resource Officer

There’s a long list of disorders. All these prevention experts caution that for some there is no cure. 

They’re also worried about the future, because vape juices and how they impact users long-term, still leave a lot of unknowns.

We’ve already got lung disease that we can’t help. I mean, you’ve got kids that have allergic asthma or exercise-induced asthma, but this is doing long-term damage to lungs that we ultimately can have 20 to 30 year olds with lungs equivalent to 70-year-old 40-year smokers.

Lisa Ingram, WVU Extension Agent, Marshall County 

Seeing the dangers, brings about the question: how do we keep kids from vaping?

Experts share some advice for parents and talk about the advertising that’s targeting these kids, Tuesday on 7News at 6.