WA sees an increase in vaping on school grounds

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WA sees an increase in vaping on school grounds

Mehul Shrivastava, Features Editor

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Student names have been altered for confidentiality

After smoking levels decreased in past years, followed by a period of no smoking of any sort at all, vaping is now something students are taking up in many school districts. During the last academic year, five to ten students faced consequences for vaping on campus during the second semester. By October 3, one student had been caught vaping in school.

Members of administration have taken note of this, including Dean Bob Ware.

Ware attended a conference in Cape Cod over the summer with other members of administration from different schools, and they addressed vaping as one of their major issues.

“Being in this business for over 20 years , there’s trends. Vapes are the trend now, and it’s not only statewide, it’s nationally,” Ware said.

Students choose to vape because it is odorless and there is much less secondhand smoke that could harm others. Students also often choose to vape in school bathrooms, making it hard for members of administration to find them.

Compared to smoking, vaping does have fewer risks and consequences, but Ware argues that vaping is still chemical ingestion, which still does enough damage. The first student caught this school year to ingest a chemical was ingesting a chemical found in hand lotion.

“We’re just looking out for our students’ safety. That’s our biggest concern,” Ware said.

The penalty for being caught is a suspension as well as a hundred dollar fine. If the student caught is an athlete, they are automatically out for twenty-five percent of the season, as decided by the MIAA. Administration hopes that students will understand the consequences for vaping on campus.

Ware also emphasized that if students choose to vape outside of school, it is not the administration’s concern and they cannot be penalized for it, but it will not be condoned on school property.

“All we can do is send a message, and let the kids know that there is zero tolerance for it,” Ware said.

Several students, who chose to stay anonymous, shared their opinion on the students who vape on campus.  One student, Sam, said they do vape but are not addicted, and that they only vape in social settings. They believed that the more advanced technology used in vapes allowed it to gain popularity, and expressed that vaping should be permitted in school, since students will continue to do it whether they are allowed to or not.

“It’s just a thing people do, and it kind of just caught on,” Sam said.

Two other students, Mary and Isabella who do not vape shared a different view on the matter. They are not personally bothered by people who do vape, but do not believe school is the place to do it, and those who need to should go off campus.

“I think its sad that I’ve seen Mr. Ware walk into almost every bathroom just to make sure no one’s vaping,” Isabella said.

Another student, Nicole, who does smoke, also agreed that any student who wants to vape should be able to as long as they do it in their free time when it does not make others uncomfortable, and it should be done out of school.

“I think the reason that we ban it is that eventually, it can become an addiction, and that will prevent you from learning which is why you’re here,” Nicole said.

Ware concluded by saying he will work with administration to do all he can to keep vaping from getting pervasive, but in the case that it does get out of hand, the school plans to bring professionals in to further educate students.

“I just hope kids can learn this isn’t a healthy habit, and there’s no place in schools for it, and if we can help educate them, we’ll take those measures,” Ware said.