POLK COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) -- Cedartown police say kids were sent to the hospital after using illegal THC vape pens excessively. Tuesday, the Polk County Drug Taskforce confiscated the products from three local convenience stores which allegedly sold them, but officers say the vaping problem in their city illustrates an issue across the state.

"These things scare me," said Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome. The police department is among several agencies, including the District Attorney's office, in the Polk County Drug Taskforce.

The taskforce began its investigation this school year, after Polk educators reported middle and high school students using illegal marijuana vape pens and gummies.

Some students were even taken to the hospital after excessive use.

"They think it's something that's cool, they don't understand what that product can do to their bodies."

Tipsters told officers it came from three convivence stores within blocks of each other. For weeks, undercover officers say they purchased the illegal products from the stores located at 1006 North Main Street, 731 North Main Street, and 101 North Main Street.

The final part of the operation was executed Tuesday. There were eight arrests in total. Newsome told CBS46 three others are still pending. The Polk County Task Force is working with other Georgia agencies to figure ways to tackle more spots targeting kids across the state.

"If I were a parent of an elementary, middle, or high school kid, I'm going to pay very close attention." The chief continued, "especially the way these products now may look like an ink pen."

At least 17% of Georgia youth now vape, according to the American Lung Association. Officials warn that is 17% too many.

"We're going to protect our young people with every legal avenue we have. You're not going to sell this here."

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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