Schools fret as teens take to vaping, even in classrooms – 570 news types of electricity pdf

##

The devices heat liquid into an inhalable vapour that’s sold in sugary flavours like mango and mint — and often with the addictive drug nicotine. They’re marketed to smokers as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, but officials say they’re making their way to teens with surprising ease.

A new wave of smaller vapes has swept through schools in recent months, officials say, replacing bulkier e-cigarettes from the past. It’s now common in some schools to find students crowded into bathrooms to vape, or performing vape tricks in class.

“We’ve seen significant increases across the student body,” said Robert Keuther, principal at Marshfield High School on the south shore of Massachusetts. “This is not something specific to one group of kids. It’s across all of my grades, nine to 12. It’s all students.”

Vaping devices are notoriously difficult to detect for schools, often leaving behind only a quick puff of vapour and a light fruity scent. Students get away with it in bathrooms, halls and even classrooms, where some say they exhale the vapour into their shirts.

Although buying e-cigarettes is illegal under age 18 — and some states have bumped the minimum age to 21 — students say they can buy them online or from older friends. Some say there are dozens available for sale in school hallways at any given time.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to retail stores as part of its new operation against illegal sales. It also requested marketing and design documents from the maker of the Juul, a popular vape product that is shaped like a flash drive. The agency says it’s looking into whether certain features are specifically appealing to young people.

But critics say the Juul’s sweet flavours and stealthy design seem to be aimed at kids. In an April 18 letter to the FDA, a coalition of medical and health groups called for a suspension of online sales until authorities create stronger rules against underage sales.

Many schools are pushing back with education campaigns against vaping. Health and gym classes feature new lessons on potential risks. Teachers are being trained on what to look for. Schools are producing online videos on the dangers of e-cigarettes.

New York’s Plainedge High School was among the first to install new bathroom sensors that can detect e-cigarette vapour and immediately alert administrators. Few students have been caught so far, but officials say that isn’t a sign of failure.

Whether schools’ efforts are making a broader difference has yet to be seen, though. Teen vaping decreased for the first time in 2016 after rapidly rising for years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated numbers are expected in June.

Some students say that it’s better to be vaping than using cigarettes or other drugs. Cameron Uldricks says he vapes almost every day but has never smoked tobacco. And even though it landed him a suspension from his high school near Columbus, Ohio, the 17-year-old said he has no plans to cut back or quit.

At Chickamauga City Schools in rural Georgia, officials instituted a three-day suspension for vaping this year after catching several students doing it at the middle school. Superintendent Melody Day said it’s still unclear whether the crackdown has worked.

North of New York City, officials at South Orangetown Middle School hosted a forum for parents last month after starting to see some cases. Students caught vaping go through counselling on risky behaviours, which officials hope will halt any escalation to further drug use down the line.