SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Local law enforcement officials say keeping e-cigarettes away from minors is a never-ending job.

Community Policing Sergeant Jeremy McClure with the Sioux City Police Department said officers test businesses to make sure they’re not selling e-cigarettes to minors.

“We do compliance checks with the stores and we do those at least twice a year sometimes more, where we send someone into a store who is clearly underage to a store to attempt to purchase those products to ensure that the clerks are checking IDs,” he said.

McClure said most stores are compliant, but kids are still getting their hands on these products

“Most of the citations we write from kids using these vape products come from the schools,” he said. “They’re using them in the schools and we’re trying to help the schools enforce those rules.

Aaron Youngberg is a therapist with Heartland Counseling in South Sioux City. He said frequent nosebleeds, cravings for spicy foods and a fruity odor are signs your child might be vaping. Youngberg said identifying the signs your child might be vaping can be easy for parents, but talking to their child about why they’re vaping can be more complicated.

“Having a conversation with them about why they shouldn’t do it and finding out why they were doing it is the most beneficial way to do it. and if there’s something going on like if they’re having more anxiety or feeling more depressed, like they don’t fit in, maybe take them to their doctor,” Youngberg said.

The Sioux City Police Department has cited 33 minors for possessing e-cigarettes so far this year. The citation includes a $135 dollar fine.

The Sioux City Community School District provided the following statement in response:

“The Sioux City Community School District is committed to providing an environment free of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and nicotine. Our student code of conduct specifically prohibits the use of tobacco or tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, on District property or while attending or participating in a District or school-related activity. If a student violates the District’s code of conduct, the District follows specific procedures to address the violation to ensure we maintain a safe and healthy learning environment for all students and staff.”