EL CENTRO, Calif. - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been almost 20 confirmed deaths related to vaping in the United States. Now students in the Imperial Valley want to prevent their friends and classmates from becoming part of those statistics.
On Wednesday, they hosted a student-lead assembly at Southwest High school to raise awareness about the dangers of vaping.
Southwest Teacher, Jackie Valadez said, "Students see it. They're living it. They know what it's like. they know the peer pressure. So there's not a better way to deliver a presentation than peer to peer or student lead."
Lauren Din, a student at Southwest High School, has seen with her own eyes how addictive vaping can be.
"I've seen where they can't even go a whole day without vaping. They have to do it all the time. They have to leave school for lunch because they need to vape, " Din said.
Another student, James Butcher said he sees ads for vaping everywhere he goes.
"You go to a gas station and the first thing you see outside are posters of 'we sell juul' or we sell e-cigarettes," said Butcher.
Fernanda Lynch, the health program coordinator for the Imperial County Tobacco Education Project believed the rise in vaping among youths is due to the misconception that vaping is safe.
Lynch said, "E-cigarettes are not a better option. E-cigarettes, like they say, are harmless, it's not true. They are very dangerous. "
Xoixza Lopez, another student in the assembly hopes the assembly serves as a wake-up call for those who haven't kicked the habit.
"That it's not only affecting them. But people around them. And animals around them. I feel like hopfeully it opened up their eyes," said Lopez.
If you or someone you know is struggling with vaping addiction, you can call the California Smokers hotline at 1-800-662-8887.