In recent years, the use of electronic cigarettes, or vapes, among high school students has become a growing concern. Results from a study led by the Food & Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control revealed that 2.55 million U.S. middle and high school students reported current (past 30-day) e-cigarette use in 2022. This includes 14.1% of high school students and 3.3% of middle school students. Vaping in high school has become such a widespread challenge that many schools across North America have installed vape detectors to combat this unwanted campus behavior.
Although vape detectors are an important tool in addressing the issue, they are not the only solution. A comprehensive approach, that involves a variety of deterrence methods, is the key to successfully reducing vaping among high school students.
Why is Vaping in High School a Pressing Concern?
The allure of vapes, with their discreet nature and appealing flavors, has captured the attention of millions of high school students. This widespread popularity raises alarming health and educational issues. Nicotine addiction, coupled with its impact on student well-being, compromises academic performance, memory, and social interactions. Addressing this issue promptly and comprehensively is vital to protect the future health of our youth.
Why Vape Detectors Aren’t the Only Solution
Vape detectors are important but not the sole solution for addressing vaping in high school. A multi-faceted approach will reap many more benefits than just focusing on detection alone. A comprehensive plan involving education, awareness programs, and collaboration with teachers, admins, and parents is necessary to effectively promote healthy choices and prevent this unwanted behavior.
Reduce Vaping in High School: Other Methods for Your Toolkit
1. Educate Students About the Health Risks of Vaping
While vape detectors are essential tools, conversation and education are key components of curbing vaping in schools. By providing educational resources about the dangers of vaping and its impact on health, schools can empower students to make informed decisions. Rather than taking a top-down approach that feels authoritarian, encourage dialogue and open discussions instead. Be willing to create spaces for honest conversation with students without them being fearful of punishment. This could even be done through online polls or surveys. Through this approach, your school can learn why students want to vape in the first place, where they are doing it, how often, etc. By knowing these key pieces of information, you can create a more empathetic and considered action plan that really places the student at the heart of the solution.
2. Develop a Clear Response Plan for Vape Alerts
You’ve installed new vape detectors. Great. Now, what happens next? A well-defined response plan ensures that school staff and administrators can respond swiftly and appropriately when these vape detectors actually go off. Every school’s plan will be unique but here are some key steps to get you started:
- Step 1 – Establish disciplinary consequences that will arise if someone is caught vaping (this could be detentions or counseling resources)
- Step 2 – Verify the vape alert
- Step 3 – Identity the location
- Step 4 – Deploy a trained staff member to intervene and address the situation
- Step 5 – Appropriately assign consequences to the vaping offenders
- Step 6 – Inform parents and guardians
By establishing a clear and comprehensive response plan, schools can swiftly and decisively address vape alerts, promoting a smoke-free environment and reinforcing the message that vaping is not tolerated within the school community.
3. Reinforce School Behavior Policies
Additionally, reinforcing high school vaping policies sends a clear message that vaping is not tolerated and carries consequences. Reinforcement helps create a deterrent effect, discouraging students from engaging in this behavior. It also promotes accountability and reinforces the importance of respecting rules and regulations. This allows schools to demonstrate their commitment to the well-being of their students and foster an atmosphere that supports healthy choices and academic success. If you are looking for a robust behavior reporting tool to streamline and automate this process, Minga can help.
4. Combine Vape Detectors with a Digital Hall Pass Tool to Accurately Identify Offenders
One of your vape detectors has gone off. But what happens if a staff member can’t reach the location in time before the student(s) has left the area? You are able to determine the location but not able to determine exactly who the offenders are. A digital hall pass tool can be the key to getting your school this crucial information. For example, if a vape detector goes off in the gym toilets at 1 pm, a digital hall pass tool (with real-time data) will be able to accurately determine who had a hall pass for that specific location at that specific time. This removes any ambiguity or guesswork and allows staff to facilitate targeted interventions and reinforce student accountability.
5. Review Vape Detector and Hall Pass Data for Continuous Improvement
Collecting and analyzing data from vape detectors is crucial for identifying trends, patterns, and problem areas within the school. Schools should establish systems to monitor and analyze the information gathered by detectors and digital hall passes. This data-driven approach can help schools understand vaping habits, target intervention strategies, set up progressive discipline frameworks, and continuously improve their anti-vaping initiatives. By staying vigilant and adapting based on data insights, schools can refine their efforts and enhance the overall efficacy of vape detectors.
Vaping among high school students continues to be a pressing concern, and schools must take proactive measures to address this issue effectively. By combining vape detectors with a multi-faceted approach, staff can successfully reduce vaping in high school while empowering students to make healthier choices.
Minga offers a campus management platform that can help reduce bathroom meetups and reduce vaping in high school. Minga’s Digital Hall Pass Module enables your school to boost the efficacy of your vape detectors. Book a demo with a Minga solutions expert to learn more.