The popularity of vaping and e-cigarette is on the rise amongst middle and high school students. Due to the rise of this issue, certain lawmakers and schools are taking action to combat the trend for adolescents.
A report via AZ Central states that the use of e-cigarettes amongst high schoolers rose by 78 percent from 2017 to 2018. Amongst middle school students, the use of e-cigs was up by 48 percent in that same time period, based on Food and Drug Administration’s numbers. FDA estimates that overall, there were 1.5 million students vaping in 2018 compared to 2017.
Some schools in Arizona are working to combat this problem and providing a model for other schools around the nation to do so. Vape detectors are installed in many of their schools in order to reduce the issue. In addition, addiction experts are educating students at various schools in the state. They’re working to educate students, school staff, and parents on the risks involved with vaping or e-cigarette use.
Kyrene Aprende Middle School located in Chandler, Arizona is one of the schools using the vape detector technologies. They installed a total of 20 vape detectors this past February. The detectors are used in seventh and eighth-grade restrooms in a “pilot program” for the entire school district.
Other schools in Arizona have mentioned it wouldn’t be feasible to install vape detectors in all of their school restrooms due to the number of them inside the building(s). The belief is the cost would be too much and that students would find ways around the detection units.
That said, Arizona schools are at least making some progress towards curtailing or attacking the issue. In Utah, recent laws were passed that could also be enacted in other states. According to KUTV, lawmakers passed a bill to raise the legal smoking age to 21 in the state. That includes not only the age requirement for buying or using tobacco but also vape products. There is an exception to the law for those who are under 18 and either in the military, have been honorably discharged, or receive parental permission.
Another bill is in the works to put a “sin tax” on vaping products in Utah.The bill, HB0252, would officially raise the tax on vape products up to 86 percent, but has yet to receive a vote from the Utah Senate. Meanwhile, the state’s legal smoking age is expected to move from the current age of 19 to the age of 21 as of July 1, 2021.