As vaping gains popularity, administrators need to take more preventive measures


Art by Yoo Young Chun

Central Times Staff

During lunch hours. During Homecoming. During football games.

These are all instances in which students are reportedly vaping. And unfortunately, it isn’t surprising to hear about them.

The Central Times editorial board agrees that vaping has become fairly commonplace at Central and that more preventive measures must be taken by the district in order to stop vaping from occurring on school grounds.

CT has heard from multiple sources about the increasing prevalence of vaping on school grounds. Data from Student Services confirms this. In fact, there has been a steep increase in the amount of vaping incidents at Central. In just the first few months of school, we’ve seen triple the amount of vaping incidents as compared to last year. And these are just the incidents the deans know about.

Students vape in their cars during lunch hours. Students step into bathroom stalls to vape, creating a haze of smoke that their classmates complain about. Students even charge their juuls, a type of vaping device, in their Chrome-
books, right in front of unaware teachers who obliviously continue with their lessons.

Some students admit that they are so addicted to the nicotine in their juuls that they must leave in the middle of class, faking a trip to the bathroom, to the nurse, to anywhere, just to take a hit. 

Those who support the activity as a safer alternative to traditional smoking are able to hide behind the current ambiguity surrounding its impacts. We don’t know much about the effects of vaping yet. There aren’t enough studies
that have been done about it for us to determine how it does or doesn’t affect our health.

Nor do we fully grasp yet if students vape because of the different flavors that they can choose from (which range from menthol to crème brûlée) or because of the nicotine in them (which, in some, is about as much as a pack of cigarettes). Do students vape out of boredom? To follow trends? Because of a need?

Even with all of these uncertainties, what is clear is that vaping should not be occurring on school grounds, especially during the school day or during school events.

The editorial board agrees that there’s little District 203 can do about the easy access to vaping devices or even how easily they are smuggled into schools. As vaping devices are small and often resemble USB drives or permanent markers, it’s hard to notice them.

We also want to acknowledge that the district has tried to address this issue. They’ve added the term “vapor pen” to school policy, for example, in an attempt to make it more clear to students what violates policy. But frankly, that’s not enough.

What the district can do next is make teachers more aware of what vaping devices look like. Our school resource officer, Ann Quigley, regularly gives presentations on drugs, even bringing in confiscated items to show teachers what they look like. And yet, how many teachers can tell the difference between a USB drive and a vaping device?

Students should also know about the consequences that accompany vaping. Central does a school-wide campaign on safe social media. We learn about the dangers of drinking and about school safety. So why isn’t vaping also a part of this? Students need to be more aware of what their actions can lead to.

If the district wants to put a stop to vaping at school, it has to do it quickly, as vaping has become more and more popular among teenagers.

Maybe students will keep coming up with different ways to evade teachers and administrators. Or maybe vaping is just a fad that will eventually go away. But it’s better to get out in front of this problem. There should be nothing hazy about where we stand as a community on the topic of vaping.