vaping epidemic
How do you wipe out a generation of vaping addicts among school-going children? Source: Shutterstock

The vaping epidemic shows no signs of slowing down among youths, but schools aren’t taking this sitting down. Many are attempting to stem the tide, but with varying degrees of success.

According to reports, e-cigarettes are growing in popularity across the world, but their health risks warrant concern. 

A Mordor Intelligence report notes that the e-cigarette is the most commonly used tobacco product among youth. 

They add that JUUL – a type of e-cigarette – is popular among youth across the US, from middle schools to college campuses. They add that the number of high school and college students is increasing yearly, who rush to retailers to buy the product because of its discreet design offered in.

The vaping epidemic among American youth has pushed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban fruit- and mint-flavored e-cigarette cartridges, which are popular among children. 

The FDA announced its new policy on Thursday (January 2).

It has given e-cigarette companies 30 days to cease the manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorised flavoured cartridge-based e-cigarettes (other than tobacco or menthol) before they begin enforcement.

“By prioritising enforcement against the products that are most widely used by children, our action today seeks to strike the right public health balance by maintaining e-cigarettes as a potential off-ramp for adults using combustible tobacco while ensuring these products don’t provide an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for our youth,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in a press release.

Citing the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) results, the FDA said more than five million US middle and high school students are current e-cigarette users, with a majority reporting cartridge-based products as their usual brand.

Schools galvanised into action

vaping epidemic

Schools go through great lengths to curb vaping among students. Source: Shutterstock

It’s an uphill battle, but schools in the US have been using various methods to tackle the vaping epidemic.

Some schools are using vape detectors in places such as bathrooms and closets. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that some schools have started random nicotine testing of high-school students in extracurricular activities, banning the use of bathroom breaks during classes, removing stall doors and offering giveaways to encourage students to surrender their vapes.

Students caught vaping more than once at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek, California are required to attend Saturday “vape school” – along with a parent.

The four-hour class includes lessons on the dangers of vaping, which has been associated with a nationwide outbreak of lung injuries and deaths. 

An official at the high school said the lessons are helping, but said it’s a continuing problem as freshmen are arriving already exposed to vaping.

“I don’t know that we have the tools to win this battle,” Northgate Principal Michael McAlister was quoted saying. He believes more students in his school are doing it than admitted. “There’s an entire new generation of addicts.”

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