New statistics show that 20% of high school students use some sort of e-cigarette device. Middle and High school districts all across America are trying different methods to try to cut down on the vaping epidemic plaguing teenagers everywhere. A school in Alabama has even gone as extreme as removing the doors from bathroom stalls, since the bathroom is the number one spot teens go to vape during school hours.
The newest way districts are attempting to control this issue are vape detectors. Vape detectors look just like regular smoke alarms, however, since vapor from e-cigarette devices is less dense and overall a different chemical make up than regular smoke from fires, a different alarm system is needed. Some of these alarms are even equipped to detect smoke vapor from THC (marijuana) vapor pens, and loud sound abnormalities, which some districts are using to notify administrators when bullying may be occurring.
The detectors also won’t sound an alarm when vapor smoke is present, instead it sends a notification to a school administrators phone (or multiple phones depending on who syncs their phone with the device) this way school officials can go and confiscate the device from the teenager in question. The device works the same way when it detects unusually loud sound frequencies, such as shouting from bullying, which also helps administrators step in. To see for yourself how this technology works, click here to watch a video demonstration.
School districts in New Jersey, Ohio, and Illinois have already begun implementing these new detectors into their schools, and so far all three states are loving the results. Sparta Township School District is one of ten districts in the state of New Jersey that has begun installing these devices in its high schools, and has plans to install them in all school buildings by the end of the month. They also are planning on putting them all throughout the school, not just in bathrooms.
As far as removing bathroom stall doors, as one Alabama school has done, Superintendent Michael Rossi Jr. told CNN they wouldn’t go that far. “This is not a gotcha-type thing, it’s an educational, restorative and holistic response. We’re not looking to punish people” he said.
Districts in Ohio aren’t being as relaxed with punishment, as the schools who have already installed the detectors have made it clear that any student caught vaping, or selling vape products, will face suspension. Schools in Ohio, and states alike, are hoping to expand the installations of these devices to all schools in all districts, however, cost is a factor, and so far the districts that have begun implementing this new system have paid for it with grant money.
Illinois is one of the main states trying to distribute these devices throughout it’s many districts as quickly as possible. Illinois alone has seen 42 cases of respiratory illnesses linked to vaping within the past 90 days, so they’re definitely motivated into getting e-cigarettes out of the hands of teenagers.
According to CNN, Last month, “an 18-year-old from Illinois was hospitalized with a severe pulmonary illness after using e-cigarettes for almost two years. His lungs were similar to those of a 70-year-old adult,” his doctors said.
So far, the United States has reported 450 cases, and counting, of respiratory/lung related illness that is linked to vaping. Doctors and Scientists still aren’t totally sure what specific aspect of vaping is causing the pneumonia like epidemic, but they do know that all of these cases are occurring in individuals who vaped some sort of smoke product within 90 days of being hospitalized.
In addition, six of those 450 people have died from their specific ailments, and a majority of these cases are happening with young teenagers who are going through pods a day to get their nicotine fix. These vapor detectors are a good step in the right direction to fixing the nicotine epidemic affecting so many young people. In addition, school administrators everywhere encourage parents and guardians to make sure they’re enforcing a non-nicotine/tobacco household, as well as keeping an eye on their child and what they might be putting into their lungs.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.