By Charissa Ziegler, Allyson Kang & Priscilla Lee
Schools across the nation are scrambling to construct educational programs and policies to fight the rampant rise of student vaping. Last year, the California Healthy Kids Survey reported that 34 percent of students at DHS reported having vaped before.
The problem is that vaping is new, and the rules are old.
Caught vaping? Here’s what happens
Vaping inhabits a gray area between a tobacco product and a drug because most vapes do not contain tobacco. Instead, vapes have a higher quantity of nicotine in each inhalation.
The vaping epidemic has outpaced school district policies. Vaping is not mentioned in either the drug or tobacco section in the student planner.
Students caught using e-cigarrettes anywhere on campus must attend a meeting with their parents to review possible penalties as well as discuss their addiction if applicable, according to Principal Tom McHale. DHS may apply a moderate to harsh penalty depending on the situation. Students who are addicted to vaping must also meet with their counselor and school nurse.
Addressing the addiction
School officials have struggled to identify students who are addicted to vaping because most students vape in the bathroom, where teachers and administrators are not allowed to enter.
DHS nurse Abigail Serin has never had to treat a student with severe vaping symptoms that would require hospitalization. However, she would call 911 if a student was suffering.
According to Serin, addiction to vaping occurs faster than with cigarettes because e-cigarettes do not burn out like traditional cigarettes. Without a visual, students become addicted faster because they tend to inhale higher amounts of nicotine over a relatively shorter period of time.
For students struggling with addiction, DHS has a contract with Recovery Happens Counseling Services, an organization that provides resources on overcoming dependence on nicotine. DHS can refer students to Recovery Happens for counseling and re-sources outside of school.
The organization has a location in down-town Davis as well as two other centers near Sacramento and two in the Bay Area.
Last spring, sophomore students attended an assembly where a speaker from Recovery Happens presented a slideshow to educate students on the dangers of vaping. The school nursing department also creates fliers for stu-dents warning them not to vape.
At this time in the year, sophomores have not attended an informational assembly on vaping.
“I don’t know that much, but I do know that vaping is a safer but more addictive form of smoking,” sophomore Evan Lee said.
Schools across the country are grappling with the relatively new vaping phenomenon. “We are continuing to find ways to educate students and families about the harms of vaping and offer helpful resources,” Principal Tom McHale said.