E-cigarettes or “vaping” has become a widespread problem across adolescents and young adults, and students at WHS are no exception.
According to CNN, teen vaping increased nearly 80 percent in the last year. This new trend also created a complication for high schools across America.
“As the administration and staff, we are being proactive as possible to prevent this problem from arising at WHS,” WHS principal Jan Hutley said. The high school has taken initiative by locking locker rooms during the day, and enforcing hall passes for students. “We don’t want to sit back and wait to catch someone.”
Although the WHS handbook doesn’t specifically mention e-cigarettes, Hutley clarified they fall under the tobacco section.
“It’s important for students to be aware of the consequences that will be given to them if they make this choice,” Hutley said. She also conducted a meeting with each of the classes in WHS to explain the school’s policies. “This will also be treated like any other offense against tobacco products, alcohol or drugs, and law enforcement will have to be contacted.”
Many students are also unaware of the health risks that come with vaping. In a survey conducted by Charger staff, 59 percent of students believed that vaping had the same or less of health risks than smoking cigarettes. Although hazards like second-hand smoke are canceled out, vaping actually creates more of a health risk for the user. This is because of the amount of nicotine and other chemicals are increased with e-cigarettes.
“Vaping is a very important health risk topic that teens and adults need to understand,” Wabaunsee Health Department administrator Janet Wertzberger said. “Although vaping may be recommended for some adults who already smoke and are trying to quit, it is by no means a healthy habit for someone who has never smoked.”
WHS also sent an email out to students’ parents, informing them of the expectations and school policy on vaping and tobacco use at school.
“It’s important to let kids and parents know this information, and to make sure they know we do care about their safety and well-being,” Hutley said.
— Abby Oliver, @AbbyOliver27