Berkley High School tests new technology to discourage students from vaping

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BERKLEY, Mich. – If you have a child in high school, chances are they or someone they know use e-cigarettes, and many students confirmed it in the most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey.

Over 2.1 million American high school students reported using e-cigarettes. That’s more than 14% of all high schoolers.

Among those who use e-cigarettes, more than a quarter of students say they vape daily. It’s not just about the nicotine hit, as 85% of youth e-cigarette users opt for the flavored varieties, with fruit flavors the most popular, followed by candy or sweet flavors.

Berkley High School is trying to deter vaping in schools by installing sensors in the bathrooms. The school board approved the idea and purchased them a few months ago.

Principal Andy Meloche describes the Halo Smart Sensor as similar to a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detectorVapors from an e-cigarette or any other device trip a silent alarm that notifies staff and administration.

“We understand there will be some students that are just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but there will also be some instances where students are vaping,” said Meloche. “If that’s the case, then there will be consequences per our code of conduct which could be anywhere from an out-of-school suspension to an in-school suspension or a conference with an administrator and their parents.”

Meloche reassures the technology does not feature cameras. He says they’ve also spoken to the Oakland Schools Technical Campus administration, who installed similar sensors two years ago.

“They had experienced some success with a decrease in the amount of vaping and an increase in students feeling more comfortable and safe in that environment,” Meloche said.