With vaping among young people seeing such a steady climb in recent years, schools have had to become more vigilant about tweens and teens using vape-related products on campus. Teachers and administrators have to keep a watchful eye, making sure that the students in their buildings aren’t vaping in class, in the halls, and in bathrooms.
To really understand how to combat the vaping problem now present in our schools, one must first know why kids start to vape at such a young age in the first place.
According to a recent survey conducted by Monitoring the Future, 61% of adolescents who vape initially started just to try it. In other words, the allure of experimentation is what really drew them in. After that, 42% of young people surveyed said that they vape because they enjoy the taste of flavored vape juice, 38% claimed vaping is a good time, 37% said that it helps relieve tension, and 29% vape to enjoy the effects of nicotine or THC found in vape-related products.
Since kids spend a good portion of their day in school and attending after-school programs, many of them are using vape pens at school whether their parents know it or not.
The biggest problem with vape pens—as opposed to traditional nicotine or marijuana products—is that they have a much less noticeable odor. Plus, kids don’t have to actually light them with a flame or keep the hot end away from their skin. This means that it’s far easier to hide the use of vape pens and conceal them in backpacks, pockets, and even their hands.
Of course, there are also many pieces to a vape pen—and they can quickly be assembled or disassembled.
Depending on the type of vape pen a tween or teen has, the following pieces may exist:
- Vial of e-liquids
- Drip tip
This makes it harder for educators to recognize vape-related products when they do see them.
However, the federal government did enact a new law on December 20th, 2019. Prior to this law, each state had the authority to pass its own age-related vaping laws.
While some states required purchasers to be 18 years of age, others required them to have reached their 19th birthday. And others yet, set the requirement at 21 years old unless the user was in the military.
Of course, some states were more proactive with vaping laws than others. Michigan became the first state to ban flavored vaping and was soon followed by other states, diminishing the appeal of vaping for many users.
Once enacted, the new federal law made the following changes across the United States:
- It made it illegal to sell any tobacco-related product to anyone under 21 years of age
- Banned fruit or mint-flavored vape juices from being made or sold
Lastly, federal law prohibits vape-related marketing that targets younger audiences. So, the hope is that these measures will make it harder for school-aged children to get their hands on e-cigarettes in the first place.