Educators are seeing a spike in youth vaping. Black Press Photo

SD6 administration concerned with rise in vaping among students

Educators urging parents to talk to kids about vaping

Golden Star Staff

An increase in vaping among students has led to a ban on all vaping products at Golden Secondary School (GSS) and Golden Alternate School.

While cigarette smoking rates have been steadily declining in Canadian and B.C. youth, vaping is on the rise. Current statistics say that one in four Canadian youth have tried an electronic cigarette.

In School District 6 (SD6), which includes Golden Secondary School, Board Policy 5180 specifically addresses vaping, stating “The Board of Education believes that the use of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and related products in the school and work environment is detrimental to the good health of its students and employees.”

SD6 superintendent Paul Carriere said that this year is seeing a spike in vaping.

“There has been a gradual increase in the incidence of vaping among students over the past couple of years, but I would describe this school year as more of a ‘spike,’” he said. “We are all very concerned about nicotine addiction, and about the potential harm arising from the flavouring agents that are associated with vaping. Principals have been communicating with both students and parents regarding this trend, and schools are actively working to provide information about the associated health risks.”

Most vaping products and juices contain nicotine, and the products are addictive, creating health concerns for teens who haven’t smoked cigarettes prior to the new product being introduced to the market.

GSS principal Iris Trask says that all vaping products will be banned from the high school and the alternate school at the beginning of 2019.

“We had students vaing inside the school, which is creating a huge health concern for employees… and students,” Trask said. “It is also illegal for these products to be used anywhere on school property, including vehicles parked on our property.”

READ: Tobacco execs push back against vaping health concerns

“Vaping” is the act of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol, often called vapour, which is produced by heating a liquid with a battery powered device known as a vape, electronic-cigarette or vapour product. The liquid is often referred to as e-juice, and comes in a variety of flavours which youth may find appealing.

According to Health Canada, vaping and e-cigarettes can deliver nicotine in a less harmful way than smoking, and therefore can be a safer alternative than cigarettes, but for a non-smoker, vaping introduces risks.

Interior Health information says that while vaping products may be marketed as a harmless alternative to smoking, there are health risks linked to the chemicals found in vapour products and the long term effects of vaping remain unknown.

Because some vaping liquids are odourless and the vaping devices can look like pens, or USB flash drives or flashlights, parents may not even be aware that their children are vaping.

Educators are encouraging parents to read the available research on vaping and talk to their children about it.

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