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TENNERTON – Smoking and using vapes are strictly prohibited within Upshur County schools and on school property. Over the summer break, some Upshur County schools received vape detectors to help monitor for vape use in areas that are difficult to monitor, such as restrooms.
Matthew Sisk, Upshur County Schools Director of Safety and Emergency Preparedness, said vape usage has increased steadily in both middle and high school every year since 2013-2014. He referred My Buckhannon to the Centers for Disease Control website, www.cdc.gov, for information on vapes or e-cigarettes.
Ο ιστότοπος του CDC σημειώνει ότι τα ηλεκτρονικά τσιγάρα είναι ηλεκτρονικές συσκευές που θερμαίνουν ένα υγρό και παράγουν ένα αεροζόλ ή ένα μείγμα μικρών σωματιδίων στον αέρα. Τα vapes διατίθενται σε πολλά σχήματα και μεγέθη και μερικά μοιάζουν με κανονικά τσιγάρα, πούρα ή πίπες, ενώ άλλα μπορεί να μοιάζουν με μονάδες flash USB, στυλό ή άλλα καθημερινά αντικείμενα. Ο ιστότοπος λέει ότι τα ηλεκτρονικά τσιγάρα συχνά περιέχουν νικοτίνη και αρώματα.
«Οι ανιχνευτές ατμίσματος τοποθετούνται σε τοποθεσίες στα σχολεία που είναι δύσκολο να παρακολουθούνται από το προσωπικό, όπως στα μπάνια», είπε ο Σισκ. «Οι ανιχνευτές ανιχνεύουν ατμούς από τα ηλεκτρονικά τσιγάρα και έχουν την ικανότητα να διαφοροποιούν τη νικοτίνη και την THC. Οι ανιχνευτές ατμού που έχουμε εγκαταστήσει έχουν επίσης τη δυνατότητα να ανιχνεύουν ξαφνικές αυξήσεις στον ήχο, επιτρέποντας ενδεχομένως στους σχολικούς υπαλλήλους να ανταποκρίνονται σε φωνές στα μπάνια ή σε καυγάδες στα μπάνια».
Matt Hamilton, system specialist with Electronic Specialty Company, installed the vape detectors in Upshur County schools during summer break. He said the nice thing about the detectors is their ability to detect more than just e-cigarettes.
“They can detect if there is a fight or very loud noises,” Hamilton said. “These detectors can be set up to send emails or text messages when there is vapor detected or loud noises so officials can check the restrooms. The detectors we are installing are the newest version, and they detect so many things.”
Hamilton said the vape detectors are a very good tool to have and said they are receiving many calls for the installation of detectors in schools.
Sisk and all school officials want to remind students, staff, parents and families that use of tobacco products, drugs and e-cigarettes of any type are prohibited in schools and on school property, including buses.
“All nicotine and drugs are prohibited substances on school property,” Sisk said. “Students are subject to the school’s policies if they are found in violation of these rules. The consequences vary from middle school to high school, but any students found in repeated violation will be subject to a citation from law enforcement.”
Sisk said he feels many people believe vaping is not harmful or is innocuous, especially in comparison to smoking.
“There is a lot of recent information being published regarding the physical dangers of vaping,” he said. “However, it is important to stress that the dangers of vaping go beyond the physical health components. The mental health side-effects of being addicted to nicotine are extremely harmful to our young people today. These dangers are very well documented through the fight against nicotine-related products for young people.”
Sisk said one of the main factors that make vapes harder to detect is their size.
“The small size makes it harder to notice and easier to pass from student to student,” he said. “Another factor is the low level or lack of smell. Smoking a cigarette leaves a pungent odor on the smoker, where vaping carries almost no smell.”
Aside from being prohibited, Sisk said he wants students, parents and families to realize that vapes can be addictive.
“I want families to know that vapes are addictive and, in many ways, more addictive than other nicotine products due to the high levels of nicotine in the products. I also want families to know that many of these devices can and do have other drugs in the device outside of nicotine,” he said.
The CDC website offers tips for talking with children and teens about why e-cigarettes and vaping are harmful and it suggests visiting www.smokefree.gov or calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free help on quitting.