Vaping is on the rise among students in the US, but schools are fighting back against this trend by installing vape detectors.
According to CNN, an increasing number of schools are showing an interest in installing vape detectors in places such as bathrooms and closets. Some can even detect THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) oil, a compound found in marijuana, and sound abnormalities like shouting, which could help prevent bullying.
Once these substances (or noises) are detected, vape detectors send a notification to school administrators to step in.
Vaping – a pressing health issue
Reports suggest that vaping is becoming a problem in schools worldwide. In the UK, it was reported that the number of children and teenagers who have tried vaping has doubled in five years, and one in six children aged between 11 and 18 has tried e-cigarettes.
In Canada, one study found that “vaping increased by a stunning 74 percent from 2017 to 2018, from 8.4 percent to 14.6 percent.”
While e-cigarettes, specifically flavoured ones, are popular among youths, recent reports have linked deaths from severe lung illnesses as possibly linked to vaping.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that health officials are investigating more than 450 potential cases of pulmonary illness in the US related to vaping and e-cigarette products, with six deaths having been associated with the illness.
Meanwhile, doctors and health officials have urged people to stop vaping during the investigation, while President Trump said the administration plans to ban all non-tobacco-flavored vaping products from the market.
Recently, e-cigarette giant JUUL was in hot water when the company reportedly made unproven safety claims that its products are safer than smoking traditional cigarettes and giving presentations directly to kids in schools, Ars Technica reported.
In one alleged case, a presentation was done without parental consent or having teachers present.
Following this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent JUUL a warning letter over unauthorised marketing along with a letter of concern, which included “a request for documents and information from JUUL Labs, Inc. (JUUL) regarding JUUL’s marketing, advertising, promotional, and education campaigns, as well as certain product development activity.”
A proactive approach?
With vaping becoming an epidemic and posing a potentially serious health risk to users, schools are starting to take a proactive approach to tackling the issue.
CNN reported that 10 school districts in New Jersey have already implemented vaping detectors in schools, with more requests coming in.
Meanwhile, in Ohio, the Revere Local School District has installed 16 vape detectors at Revere High School and Revere Middle School. These vape detectors were purchased through a state grant, and anyone caught using, selling or buying vapes could be suspended.
With vaping and e-cigarettes potentially posing serious health risks to students, should more schools embrace vape detectors?