Vaping affects East students

As vaping has started to become popular in the past few years, it has become more of a problem at East as well.

Not only are students vaping in classrooms and bathrooms, but also students are selling and distributing JUULpods. JUULpods are e-cigarettes that are made to look more discrete and like a USB.

“I don’t support vaping because I believe it is bad for your health, not to mention a lot of people get addicted to it which is another problem in itself. Vaping just causes multiple problems,” senior Abigail Secrist said.

Since it has become such an issue at East, during the first semester of the 2019-2020 school year, vaping became a bigger topic of discussion in the school. Posters were hung around the school to inform students about the dangers of vaping as many advertisements tell students that vapes are better than regular cigarettes which is not the case. JUULpods contain about the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes.

“My main encounter is people vaping in the restroom especially during passing periods causing people to be late and not be able to use the restroom. I have seen up to around 10 people in the restroom just standing and vaping,” Secrist said.

Also in the first semester, signs were implemented into bathrooms that state “STOP: Two or more students in a stall at any time will  result in a SEARCH by school personnel.” This means that if there are two students in one stall and a staff member has reasonable suspicion then they are allowed to search a student’s belongings.

“Reasonable suspicion is a suspicion of wrongdoing based on specific facts and not on a mere hunch or rumor. For example, if the principal wants to search you because he or she thinks you ‘look like a drug dealer,’ that isn’t good enough,” Nebraska American Civil Liberties Union said.

Since putting signs and posters up around the school, the amount of students vaping has not decreased. Staff continuously find students in bathrooms vaping. The staff also are finding more and more students that are addicted to nicotine and refuse or are unable to quit.

“Students that vape are given consequences ranging from ISS to OSS depending on different circumstances such as repeat offenses, etc. They are also required to take a mini course on the dangers of vaping while they are suspended,” Dean Colin Mink said.

The district is coming up with new ways to help solve the problem. This includes education in the classroom on the dangers of vaping, informative posters, and frequent dean and staff checks of the restrooms. The intent is for students to be aware of the dangers of vaping and getting addicted to nicotine.

“I believe that educating (not simply scare tactics) students and parents, who could be supplying the student based on misinformation, on the negative side effects of vaping,” instructor Elizabeth Beman said. “It could also be a teachable moment on how consumers are targeted by ad companies.”