WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - If you have a child in high school or junior high odds are they know about vaping and Juuling.
Now labeled an epidemic it’s no wonder parents are more concerned than ever, but when it comes to talking to your kids about the dangers, where do you begin?
Wayne Moore, a father, is sharing his story to help parents get a conversation with teens started.
Moore was hospitalized after just three months of picking up a vape pen and said one day he couldn’t breathe.
“I got up and went to the emergency room, but by that time breathing was like me trying to suck air through a straw that was clogged at the bottom."
Before he knew it, he was hooked up to all kinds of tubes and monitors. It was the beginning of an eight-day stay in the hospital, doctors linked back to vaping.
“At the end of this journey now here I sit with emphysema and that’s not going to go away,” said Wayne Moore.
He now has to take breathing treatments twice a day, along with daily medication and has a host of problems from steroids.
If it did all of this to his body, Moore said he hates to imagine what it could do to kids.
“Imagine a 12-year-old getting diagnosed with emphysema, imagine them with COPD, imagine them never being able to play football because they can’t breathe,” said Moore.
All of this has been a concern for Paula Villareal, especially with two teenagers living in the home.
“My teenagers come in from school and say. Hey Mom can I start juuling? I’m like what?!” said Paula Villareal. " I try to explain you’re just wanting to do that because your friends are doing it and they are doing it because their friends are doing it. Once you start it’s going to be hard to quit. so no you’re not going to Juul."
Villareal said it is like a toy that teens want. It looks good, tastes good and even smells good.
With the popularity of vaping growing law enforcement urges parents to start young when it comes to talking to their kids. In fact, think 4th and 5th grade.
"It's always cigarettes are bad for you, don't smoke cigarettes, but now we have to remember they come in all shapes and sizes," said Villareal.
“This is a time for tough love because that tough love is going to save their life,” said Moore.
Moore said doctors sent his vaping pens and vape juice off to the CDC to be tested.
He was also contacted by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The department is now leading the investigation into vaping related pulmonary illnesses in the Lone Star State.