The Vaping Epidemic in Schools

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Written by: Delainey Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

A statistic from 2018 shows that 20-25% of students currently vape, however a student at the school believes roughly 90% of students have at least tried it.

“Everyone vapes. There’s so many people that do it all the time, which is why I think so many others have at least tried it,” said the student.

This school isn’t the only one dealing with the issues of vaping. Schools throughout the Northeast Kansas region, and the rest of the country are also experiencing issues with keeping vaping off of their campuses. Assistant principal Jared Jackson first noticed the issues surrounding vaping within the school around two years ago.

“Last school year, in August 2018, was the first offense we had for vaping at our school. It replaced other tobacco violations we had encountered previously. It has changed the administrators’ daily jobs where we have to be more aware of usage,” said Jackson.

Not only is vaping illegal for high school-aged students, it also takes a serious toll on a person’s body, and the use of nicotine makes it highly addictive. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there have currently been 68 reported deaths in the United States with vaping as the cause. Students who vape report physical symptoms from vaping as well.

“When you start vaping it’s harder for you to eat, or it is for me at least. I don’t really have an appetite and sometimes you’ll get headaches and bad mood swings if you don’t have it, like withdrawals,” said the student.

The most common place for students to vape at school is in the bathrooms and is also where many students are first introduced to vaping. 

“I feel like the way I started is I would hit someone else’s [vape] in the bathroom at school. I would do it almost everyday,” said the student.

In order to combat this, Jackson and other administrators have taken several disciplinary actions.

“Restroom visits are looked at through our new e-hallpass system, and we have closed restrooms at times the last two years,” said Jackson.

In addition to closing restrooms, there have been 25 suspensions related to the possession or use of a vape this year. Administrators hope these consequences will eliminate the use of vapes on school property as well as other negative consequences of vaping, such as addiction.

“I’m addicted to it, but if I really tried I could stop. I just don’t see the point in stopping. I didn’t really get addicted to it until I got my own vape, even though I was using my friends’. I feel like if I didn’t get my own I would have been better off and I wouldn’t be addicted,” said the student.

Addiction is an extreme consequence of vaping, but still very common amongst many high schoolers.

“Vaping is not harmless. It is important for students to understand the teenage brain and the increased risk of addiction because the brain is quickly developing. Addiction has serious consequences including potential health and financial strain,” said Jackson.

There’s no question that vaping has spread throughout schools like a wildfire. Being educated about the dangers of vaping, and the number of students who vape is a step anyone can take to become more aware of the vaping epidemic.