WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KTVU) - It was a lesson on how to protect children against the dangers of vaping. All families in the Mount Diablo Unified School district were invited to a parent education night held Wednesday night at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek.
Amy Rose, program director with Recovery Happens, a counseling service, taught parents how to recognize the signs that their children may be vaping,"I'm going to provide you with pictures of paraphernalia."
She also talked about how teens are able to vape without their parents' and their teachers' knowledge.
Rose says some of the vaping products resemble a small flash drive.
"They're slipping it inside their sleeves. This doesn't create a scent or big cloud. They're tired with their head down in class and puffing it through their sleeves," said Rose.
One father told KTVU he learned from this presentation that suspicious items he found in one of his children's possession is considered paraphernalia. He described it as a tube containing liquid that his son said was juice.
"I can prove that they're doing something like that and I can talk to them and make them aware that this is bad for them in the future." said Salvador Ramirez, a father of five.
Experts say the products are readily available online and that minors often use their parents identification to make purchases.
One teen attending the event says he's witnessed other students vaping.
"I see kids here and there around the school. I try not t get near them. I try to kick it with my friends," said 16-year-old Anthony Ramirez.
Northgate High principal Michael McAlister says he noticed an increase in vaping among students about two years ago. He's instituted what's called "vape school" where students along with a parent attend a presentation on a Saturday to learn about the dangers.
"We're all paying the price of big tobacco jumping back in to get another generation of addicts," said McAlister.
The industry says it does not market to minors and that it welcomes education. Parents say they'd like to see more government regulations on vaping products. They say their children' safety is at risk.
"There's no smoke, no smell. It's alarming," said Jose Hernandez, a father of two sons.
Experts say students often start vaping in middle school. Parents say they knew little about vaping before this presentation.
They say they are now better equipped to talk to their children about staying away from vaping.