It seems that many parents (as well as even teachers) are not familiar with vaping. Students certainly are, but when we have contacted parents about it, many have never heard of it before, which is what prompted this blog post.
Vaping is an electronic form of smoking where the person inhales and exhales a vapor, as opposed to smoke from a traditional cigarette. You might have heard about e-cigarettes several years ago, and this is a form of that. However, you might not be aware that the e-cigarette landscape has changed significantly since it was first introduced, which has led to an increase in vaping across the country—especially since it is being marketed as a “safe alternative” to smoking cigarettes (but I would push back on that since vaping hasn’t occurred long enough for there to be a true longitudinal study to determine if there are health risks associated with it or not).
First, the old e-cigarette which resembled the shape and look of a cigarette is no longer used by most people who vape. Rather, what has become popular, especially in schools all across the country, are devices such as JUUL (you might also hear about kids who are JUULing, which is another term for vaping). What students love about them is that they are incredibly discreet and easy to hide. If you take a look below, you will see that they almost resemble a flash drive and are about the same size:
What complicates their detection even more so is that students can actually charge them off of laptops, so it genuinely gives the impression that they are working with their thumb drive. To the casual observer, or teacher walking around the room, he or she probably wouldn’t question it or give it a second thought (please know I recently shared this information with staff as well):
And because of their size, students are able to creatively hide them:
And when students vape, it is nearly colorless and odorless, which has led students to be more brazen about doing it publicly—possibly even in your house without you even knowing about!
Another thing to keep an eye out for are vape pods or vaping oils:
The legal age to purchase a vape is 18 years old, just like cigarettes, but also like cigarettes, students have been able to find ways to get their hands on them. Some will use it for nicotine or flavored oils, but there are also others who use it for completely illegal purposes such as vaping marijuana. Per the school board policy, students are not permitted to have vapes in their possession, so when we encounter these situations, consequences are given and we will call you to make you aware of the infraction.
It certainly seems like each day there is something else to be on the lookout for or to be aware of, but with the increase in popularity of vapes, I thought it would be worthwhile bringing it to your attention. If you would like to learn more about this, click here to view an ABC 7 On Your Side segment.