Vaping devices present but not prevalent in schools officials say

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 3, 2018 4:25 pm

QUINCY -- Two students have been caught with a vaping device or an e-cigarette at Quincy High School this year, but school officials know there are more students who use the devices.

Bill Sanders, assistant principal for student services, said there have been seven disciplinary instances of tobacco use, which includes the two instances involving a vape pen or e-cigarette.

"I'm not naive enough to think it's not around, but as far as a disciplinary standpoint, we've only had two instances of it this year," Sanders said. "We just haven't seen a huge increase in it, but we are aware they are out there."

Teenagers use devices such as JUULs, a slim, rectangular device resembling a USB drive, or e-cigarettes that look similar to a highlighter marker, the Chicago Tribune reported.

School administrators in the Chicago suburbs worry that the new ways to get doses of nicotine are making the illegal habit more appealing to students and more difficult for teachers to catch.

"There's a glory to this," said Bill Walsh, principal at Hinsdale Central High School. "I don't think students understand what the long-term effect is."

Walsh said at least 30 vaping devices were confiscated last month, compared with less than a handful each year in previous years.

Illinois law prohibits anyone under 18 from buying or purchasing tobacco of any kind.

Health experts convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a report last month showing that young people who start with e-cigarettes are more likely to transition to combustible cigarette use, which puts them at higher risk for addiction.

Campus supervisors at Naperville Central High School have been instructed to make frequent stops in bathrooms, where students are likely to use vaping devices. Dean of students Mike Stock said vaping devices can be difficult to detect because they leave behind fruit and candy scents, and can easily be tucked into a backpack or shirt sleeve.

Hannibal High School in Missouri has not seen any increase in vaping-related incidents this year.

"Our discipline for his has actually lessened this year in comparison to previous," said Principal Ted Sampson.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.