The FDA considers the teen use of e-cigarettes an epidemic, and now parents here in Middle Tennessee are taking new steps to make sure their kids aren't using them.

They're having their kids tested for nicotine.

It's pretty much the same way you'd take a standard drug test. A local lab here in Nashville tells News4 a few years ago they rarely gave nicotine tests, and now it's almost monthly.

Most of the time it's parents wanting to test their kids.

Tennessee's state division of family health and wellness said about 40 percent of high schoolers have used some type of e-cigarette.

"Parents need to be aware we're talking about a drug here and it can actually affect a child's brain," said Hilda Wilsdorf, owner of Any Lab Test Now.

The CDC says the brain is developing until about age 25, and nicotine can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, and even mood.

"Over the last couple of years, there have been a lot more parents concerned because of the vaping that's going on," said Wilsdorf.

Wilsdorf says with the popularity of Juul and other e-cigarettes, they've been busy giving nicotine tests to children of those concerned parents.

"What we really look for is cotinine and cotinine is actually a byproduct or metabolite of nicotine," said Wilsdorf.

There are a number of ways to test.

A hair follicle test can show if someone has used nicotine as far back as three months. A blood test can show traces of nicotine about two hours after use, and a urine test is good if a parent thinks their child has used nicotine over the last few days.

Results can be available within five to ten minutes.

"These rapid tests that I'm talking about you'll know yes or no someone's using, some other tests are qualitative so it can actually tell the amount," said Wilsdorf.

The tests range in price from $19 to $125. The test results are confidential and are only given to the parents.

If you would like more information on how these tests work, visit Any Lab Test Now's website here.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Brittany Weiner joined the News4 team as a reporter in July 2018.

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