During the last several years at Acalanes Union High School District, more and more students vape on campus. It has caught the attention of many that e-cigarette usage may play a role in recent deaths. Currently, about 19 people died from vape related lung conditions and a thousand illnesses possibly associated with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is an element in marijuana, and flavored materials in vape cartridges. These mounting deaths concern 16-year-old Junior, Skyler Blackwell, who said, “ I think that [vaping’s] really harmful, and kids don’t understand the extent of its negative effects.”
With these negative outcomes catching public media attention, people use these health consequences to bring attention to American teenagers vaping. One of Las Lomas’s Associate Principals, Bruce Giron, is not surprised by vaping’s newfound consequences. He is only disappointed. He hopes to discover why students start to vape in the first place.
Prior to working at Las Lomas, he worked in Oakland and Pittsburgh and noticed more students vaping in Las Lomas than in his previous schools, saying, “vaping devices are expensive… so the poorer communities do not have the resources to buy them.” Giron also blames the availability of access and a societal shift in teenager behavior caused by social media in exacerbating vaping.
The administration has confiscated a number of e-cigarettes and disables them by taking off the cartridges. Acalanes Union High School District Associate Superintendent, Amy McNamara said, “The rise of vaping on our campuses has been directly correlated with the sales of flavored nicotine and the legalization of marijuana.” According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, seven in ten teens are exposed to e-cigarette advertising. Also, high school usage of vape doubled in the last two years. Giron, who has worked at Las Lomas for three years, also noticed a significant increase in usage within the last two years.
Giron finds students who vape on campus concentrate in the bathrooms. McNamara also understands that vaping frequently occurs in parking areas and locker rooms. An anonymous student expressed their concern in the suspicious smell of bubblegum and artificial scents in the bathroom. To combat students’ continued e-cigarette usage, the district holds parent information nights on vaping and is currently “developing a curriculum for a vaping academy for first-time offenders,” said McNamara. The district dedicated funds to continually enforcing its no-vape policy to maintain the health of Las Lomas’s culture and school campus. While the school monitors the students and puts continued efforts to help students, Giron said: “parents must get involved, along with the students, [and both] are responsible for the health of the student body.”