Schools, lawmakers seek to educate students on dangers of vaping

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HEBER, Utah (ABC4 News) – A Utah school has vaping detectors in its bathrooms to catch students using vaping devices. And on Capitol Hill, a representative’s bill aims to create more resources and education for Utah students.

Forty-five students at Wasatch High School were caught vaping devices in the school’s restrooms since the school year began.

The detectors – which were installed in the high school’s bathrooms last year – are designed to catch students breaking the law.

“They’re not doing it out in the open, they’re doing it in the restroom,” said assistant principal Adam Hagan. “We have security in the parking lot as well. But that’s where we were getting the reports.

Inside Hagan’s office, he shows ABC4 News the vaping devices confiscated this school year.

“If we can put a stop at the vape level, hopefully, we don’t get to the next level with that student where they’re making a more difficult choice that will affect them quite a bit down the road,” Hagan said.

When a student sets off the detector, Hagan said it’s more than just suspension, but also an educational opportunity.

“And they do a smoking session class so there’s some vape education that takes place,” Hagan said. “We have more anecdotal evidence more people are getting sick, and they’re young, they’re developing. You know, the nicotine is just not good for their body.”

Representative Susan Pulsipher is working to pass a bill addressing electronic cigarettes in schools through education and prevention programs and discipline policies.

“What we want to do is help students not start to begin with and if they have started for some reason, we want to give them resources to help them to be able to stop,” Pulsipher said.

She believes education and prevention are important for Utahns.

“A lot of our young people don’t understand the dangers. And they don’t understand that this isn’t just flavored water,” Pulsipher said. “That it actually is in fact, an addictive, substances and harmful substances.”

In the United States, the National Institute on Drug Abuse said vaping devices are the most commonly used form of nicotine among youth.