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Smoky Now

The student news site of Smoky Hill High School

Smoky Now

The student news site of Smoky Hill High School

Smoky Now

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Vaping Epidemic in High Schools

The use of nicotine in vapes are impacting students in schools across the nation immensely

An epidemic of vaping among adolescents has become a frequent trend in the past few years. Last year alone, “2.13 million (7.7%) students reported current e-cigarette use in 2023,” according to the CDC

Vaping, also known as e-cigarettes, are electronic devices that contain tobacco and nicotine. Over the past decade, the use of e-cigarettes has continued to increase among adolescents. Not only is it illegal for a minor to possess any drug under the age of 21, but it also has harmful side effects that can affect the development of the brain. 

According to the CDC, “Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned stronger connections – or synapses – are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed.”

Nicotine is very harmful to the developing brain, and the majority of e-cigarettes contain this drug.

Nicotine is not the only harmful substance put into vapes– a recent trend that circled the news in recent months found other drugs to be laced in vapes.

In an article written by Round Rock, “A disturbing trend is altering vaping devices by injecting fentanyl, methamphetamine, and other illegal substances into the vaping liquid.” 

Multiple news articles wrote of the multiple cases of vapes being found to contain a variety of other drugs. 

The harmful drugs in vaping are why many schools in the U.S. have attempted to stop the use of e-cigarettes in adolescents. Colorado recently tried to slow down the use of these drugs with the Vaping Prevention Education Grant.

“March 27, 2024 (DENVER) – Attorney General Phil Weiser today announced that the Colorado Department of Law will collaborate with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) to allocate $11.4 million in grants to schools to combat the youth vaping crisis,” COAG said. This grant will allow schools to provide treatment and try to prevent the use of vapes.

This epidemic has affected most schools in the US, with the hope the Vaping Prevention Education Grant will help the prevention of underage vaping, but before the grant, there are other precautions other schools have taken to slow down the usage. 

The Cherry Creek School District has already implemented vape detectors in many schools. Smoky Hill recently took action and installed 24 vape detectors in each bathroom in the school. Smoky Hill’s Assistant Principal Bruce Jones, issued the vape detectors in the school’s bathrooms early this year.

“There’s a huge problem with vaping in Smoky. There are dangerous side effects that come from vaping and it’s a big issue,” Jones said, “It’s our intent to have a safe environment for our students, we added vape detectors because other schools in the district were already issuing them.”

With the use of the vape detectors, any smoke detected sets off an alarm system warning security. This helps security identify the students better. 

Students have also expressed concerns about vaping in schools.

“The drug use at Smoky is ruining us as kids, I see and hear students use drugs at school on a regular basis, which I believe is tragic and very worrying since most that use it aren’t grasping the consequences that come from vaping,” Ian Lopez (10) said.

More plans for preventing vaping are not clear yet, however there are other current practices Smoky is doing to help the problem.

“We do also have restorative practices for students found vaping. We usually send kids caught with harmful drugs to the counselor to help find a treatment plan. It’s very high on our list to figure out the vaping issue and other school issues,” Jones said.

The vaping epidemic raises concerns in schools around the nation. With the new treatments and prevention practices in Colorado, schools such as Smoky Hill, are trying to slow down the use of drugs by young students.

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