NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new survey finds thousands of city middle school students are vaping.

This information comes as we learn a sixth person nationwide has died from a vaping-related illness.

“It’s bad. It’s real bad,” father Maynard Lazare told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.

He says he warns his kids not to vape, but his son, 7th grader Jahwone, admits it’s very popular among his classmates.

“It’s like a new thing that’s going around, so everybody tries it and then they get addicted so they won’t stop,” Jahwone said.

RELATED STORY — ‘Our Guidance Is Quite Simple: Don’t Do It’: Cuomo Declares Health Emergency Over Vaping

This is part of a troubling trend, according to the New York City Health Department.

Its new survey found in 2018, nearly 7% of middle school students — or 13,000 — used e-cigarettes.

“It’s indication of concerns that we have that Big Tobacco is clawing back their market share in terms of children that we have previously saved from being addicted to nicotine,” NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said.

“As a parent, it worries me a lot. I really think this is something that people are coming to understand could be a very serious health hazard,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

These latest numbers come on the same day former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his nonprofit will spend $160 million to fund a new program to end teen vaping.

The initiative is aimed at banning flavored e-cigarettes, ending marketing that appeals to kids and preventing online e-cigarette sales to kids.

“That’s the reason they do it when you talk to them. They don’t smoke the products that don’t have the flavors,” Bloomberg said.

RELATED STORY — Vaping Health Scare Prompts Slew Of Proposed Regulations From NY Lawmakers

The Health Department offers the following tips for parents:

• Learn about e-cigarettes and the different types of products young people are using.
• Ask your child what they have heard about vaping and if any of their friends are vaping.
• Answer questions and talk about the risks of using e-cigarettes.
• Encourage an open, ongoing conversation.
• Avoid criticizing your child, but explain your concerns about vaping.
• Set a positive example by being keeping your home smoke- and vape-free.

In the last several days, the CDC has sounded the alarm about what it calls an epidemic.

More than 450 cases of lung illness, and a handful of deaths nationwide, have been associated with the use of vaping products.

Exactly what’s causing so many to get sick is still a mystery, but the CDC says many of the patients reported using marijuana vaping products.

Right now, the CDC is asking the public not to use any e-cigarettes at all.

The American Vaping Association has accused the CDC of playing politics with people’s health by not issuing clear and specific warnings urging people to avoid vaping illegal marijuana oil products. The group claims these street vapes are the true source of these deaths and illnesses.

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