'An epidemic:' Teen vaping is the focus of town hall meeting in Wellington

'An epidemic:' Teen vaping is the focus of town hall meeting in Wellington (WPEC)

Teenagers smoking vape pens filled with illegal substances is happening right under our noses, even at our schools.

Authorities now say they are cracking down.

That was the message to parents at a town hall meeting at Wellington High School Thursday night.

State Attorney’s Office 15th Judicial Circuit and the Palm Beach County School District said it's this one decision teens make that could mean big consequences down the line.

Lynn Powell, Juvenile Chief Officer, calls it a troubling trend.

“We are having an epidemic in our county schools of possessing vape pens with oil in it,” she said in the meeting.

Powell said teens are being taken out of area schools multiple times a week, for either possessing vape pens containing illegal drugs or for getting seriously sick after using it.

The number of teenagers arrested for possessing vape pens with illegal drugs is rising: eight cases in 2017,115 last year.

This year, 46 teens have already been arrested.

“They’re smoking it in the bathrooms, the stairways, the gym, the field, the parking lot,” Powell said.

Deborah Jaffe said she caught her teenager using a vape pen earlier this year.

“You may think that it tastes like bubble gum, cotton candy, apple or whatever the flavor is, but yet it’s something very dangerous,” she said.

During the meeting, Powell also said there are other crimes happening in our schools, like bullying and school threats, where juveniles are being tried as adults.