Is vaping an epidemic? And what should be done?

With the rise of vaping in young students comes the rise of concern in parents, teachers, healthcare providers, and even peers. Is there reason for this concern? How is it being addressed and could it be done better?

E-cigarettes, vaporizer pens, and other paraphernalia  confiscated from students at Dublin High School in Dublin, California.

E-cigarettes, vaporizer pens, and other paraphernalia confiscated from students at Dublin High School in Dublin, California.

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The FDA released a statement that teen vaping has reached an “epidemic proportion of growth.” Since than many steps have supposedly been taken to combat teen vaping. However, it continues to be an issue in schools all over the country, and PHS is no exception.

The Student Handbook outlines the vaping policy, which is very clear and relatively strict. It seems it would do a good job of stopping students from vaping during school. The only problem is the students have to be caught vaping or expected to be vaping for it to work. With vapes becoming more popular and smaller it’s getting easier and easier for students to conceal them. From the parking lots to the bathrooms to the classrooms, students can go pretty much anywhere in the school and find someone either holding a vape or vaping.

What these students know is that they have a pretty good chance at getting away with what they’re doing. What they often don’t know is the long term affects that vaping has on their body. Even when students get caught, sometimes time after time, they don’t realize what they’re doing to their body by vaping.

Because of this reason, there needs to be a change. There need to be more policies put into place to help students realize the dangers of vaping.

Currently the handbook states that “Possession or smoking/use of tobacco products, or look-alikes, e-cigarettes, etc.” will result in “paraphernalia being confiscated by administration and not returned. (May result in participation in a tobacco awareness support group).” As well as a suspension for up to three (3) days, and a parent/guardian conference.

Does it seem a little off that the tobacco awareness support group is thrown in there as an afterthought? Not even a given, just a possibility. This means that the students caught vaping will definitely be punished, but may or may not be educated about the dangers that vaping holds.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to first educate the students on why what they’re doing is so wrong and why they shouldn’t be doing it?

Maybe revisiting this policy could change that and help to combat the vaping epidemic in a more productive way.

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