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Vaping Detectors: New Line of Defense

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Illustration by Alif, 2018.

“More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette!” At first, it was said that smoking wouldn’t hurt a fly. We now know that smoking is related to almost 500,000 deaths a year. The millennial generation prides itself on being the generation that severely cut back on smoking, but the parallels between smoking and vaping among teens are simply uncanny.


It is important to remember that when smoking first appeared, it was seen as harmless as well. Not to mention that a vaping device has nicotine, which is an addictive substance…and also illegal for our age group. In ten years, what will we know about the long-term effect of Vaping? What we do know is the current short-term effects and the potential long-term effects.
In respect to the law and disciplinary actions, NYS and the Half Hollow Hills School District are implementing policy to curb vaping. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo passed a bill that banned vaping in indoor public areas. To be eligible to buy a vaping device, such as a Juul, you must be 18. In Nassau County, you must be 19, and in New York City 21.


After inquiring, Dr. Catapano commented regarding the topic of vaping and the disciplinary action of vaping on school grounds. As per Dr. Catapano, “The minimum suspension for possessing any vaping device on school property is five days. If TCH or cannabis oil is found in the cartridge used in the device, the matter will go to a superintendent’s hearing for a longer suspension; usually a total of 30 days.”


Any action or illegal possession on school grounds would go on your school record and carry a substantial impact on your college admissions prospects. These penalties are no temporary/minor issue, but rather a damaging weight that you will always carry.


It has been said that vaping is less harmful than smoking, which may be the case. However, less toxic does not mean harmless. Some of the side effects of vaping include but are not limited to: dry skin, dry mouth, rash/burning sensation on the face, itchiness, puffy/dry eyes, caffeine sensitivity, minor blood nose issues, and more depending on the individual. Of course, these symptoms are temporary, but with heavy usage they can become long-term. Long-term effects may include: asthma, respiratory issues, adverse affects to mental health, and more developing issues that are not yet understood.
A report published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, & Medicine, has documented the effects of vaping, the demographics of vaping, and other well researched medical findings related to vaping. The report’s description of E-cigarettes is as follows, “a diverse group of products containing a heating element that produces an aerosol from a liquid that users can inhale via a mouthpiece, and include a range of devices such as “cig-a-likes,” vape tank systems, and vape mods.”


It has been found that youths who smoke high volumes of e-cigarettes are more likely to transition into long-term smoking of recreational cigarettes. This would mean that a youth who vapes or use an e-cigarette can develop long-term addictions to nicotine and other addictive substances. Another scientific finding was that male youths are more inclined to use e-cigarettes and therefore are more at risk. E-cigarettes are harmful, but this report concurs with the medical understanding that they are less harmful than cigarettes. “There is moderate evidence for increased cough and wheeze in adolescents who use e-cigarettes and an increase in asthma exacerbations.”


A more uncommon and less well-known effect is the influence on reproductive health. Those who vape for recreational use don’t realize that their future of having children can be affected! There is moderate evidence to support these effects and medical findings, and in time, more well-documented evidence may come to light.


To combat the “war on vaping,” numerous developers have created vape detectors. After about a week-long calibration period, this machine tests the air content of the room and alerts school administration with discrepancies in the air content. This devices implementation would prevent vaping on school grounds and would improve the health conditions for hundreds of students. It has been recommended that the ideal location for these devices is in the bathroom facilities in the schools, being that it’s one of the only available spaces not under surveillance.


St. Anthony’s, which can be found right down the road from Hills West has spearheaded this project and is installing two devices into their bathroom facilities. The question you may be wondering is why wouldn’t every school own theses detectors? These devices cost roughly $1000, not including a separate installation fee of around $400. You may have seen this device on Good Morning America, technology magazines, or social media, due to it’s rampant and growing popularity.
On the topic of the severity of vaping on school grounds and the implementation of vape detectors, St. Anthony’s Dean of Men, Mr. Arrigo, shared valuable insight on the subject. The topics of School security and public safety are two significant issues that Mr. Arrigo works diligently to improve, and has improved for the last sixteen years.


A statement from our very own principal, Dr. Catapano, concurs with these issues being of critical importance when he made the following statement. “Everyone needs to understand the dangers and health risks associated with using a vaping device. They are not a safe alternative; they are illegal to possess by minors and are illegal for anyone to have on school grounds.” When asked to comment on his stance on the implementation of these devices, Dr. Catapano said, “I am in favor of any item that would ensure the safety of students and staff, and works to ensure an optimal environment conducive to learning.”


“That is a great idea!” commented Nurse Patty, when asked about the topic of vape detectors being installed on school ground.
St. Anthony’s has led the charge to combat the vaping epidemic in our community, and protect students and staff. The question that we have today is whether or not Half Hollow Hills will follow suit.

It has been said that vaping is less harmful than smoking, which may be the case. However, less toxic does not mean harmless. Some of the side effects of vaping include but are not limited to: dry skin, dry mouth, rash/burning sensation on the face, itchiness, puffy/dry eyes, caffeine sensitivity, minor blood nose issues, and more depending on the individual. Of course, these symptoms are temporary, but with heavy usage, they can become long-term. Long-term effects may include: asthma, respiratory issues, can affect mental health, and more developing issues. It is important to remember that when smoking first appeared, it was seen as harmless as well. Not to mention, that vaping device has nicotine which is an addictive substance…and also illegal for our age group. In ten years, what will we know about the long-term effect of Vaping? What we do know, is the current short-term effects and the potential long-term effects.

A report published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, & Medicine, has documented the effects of vaping, the demographics of vaping, and other well researched medical findings relating to vaping. The report’s description of E-cigarettes is as follows, “a diverse group of products containing a heating element that produces an aerosol from a liquid that users can inhale via a mouthpiece, and include a range of devices such as “cig-a-likes,” vape tank systems, and vape mods.” After knowing the description, it has been found, that youths who smoke high volumes of e-cigarettes are more likely to transition into long-term smoking of recreational cigarettes. This would mean, that a youth who vape or use an e-cigarette, can develop long-term addictions to nicotine and other addictive substances. Another scientific finding was that male youths/men are more inclined to use of e-cigarettes and therefore are more at risk. E-cigarettes are harmful, but this report concurs with the medical understanding that they are less harmful than cigarettes. This does not mean that the harm cannot be done.

Vaping can affect the health of individuals in various ways. Exposure to Nicotine is one of them, which influences individuals to become addicted to nicotine and switch to recreational cigarettes. The toxic substances that are emitted into the environment from vaping, are still harmful to those around the point of vape. This would mean that even people who don’t vape can still be exposed to the harm that vaping does to their health through second hand. Another critical way, that vaping can affect the health of individuals, is dependence. Youths ages 13-17 can have a serious addiction and dependence to vaping and the nicotine/oils that are consumed. A more observable effect of vaping is the effect to our respiratory system. The following quote is from the very same report. “There is moderate evidence for increased cough and wheeze in adolescents who use e-cigarettes and an increase in asthma exacerbations.” A more uncommon and less well-known effect is the influence on reproductive health. Those who vaped for recreational use, don’t realize that their future of having children can be affected! There is moderate evidence to support these effects and medical findings, and in time, more well-documented evidence will come to light.

 

In respect to the law and disciplinary actions, NYS and Half Hollow Hills are cutting down on Vaping. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo passed a bill that banned vaping in indoor public areas. To be eligible to buy a vaping device, such as Juul, you must be 18. In Nassau County, you must be 19, and in New York City 21. In the Town of Huntington, the town council is advocating for an opioid task force to combat the opioid addiction and the use of illegal drugs. Councilman Cuthbertson and Councilwoman Cergol are especially passionate regarding this task force and combating the opioid crisis plaguing our town. Disciplinary action is taken outside of school, is that it is an illegal substance, but also in our school. After inquiring, Dr. Catapano commented regarding the topic of vaping and the disciplinary action of vaping on school grounds. As per Dr. Catapano, “The minimum suspension for possessing any vaping device on school property is five days. If TCH or cannabis oil is found in the cartridge used in the device, the matter will go to a superintendent’s hearing for a longer suspension; usually a total of 30 days.” Any action or illegal possession on school grounds would go on your school record and carry a substantial impact on your college admissions prospects. These penalties are no temporary/minor issue, but rather a damaging weight that you will always carry. This is not meant to scare you, but it is intended to educate you on all the more reason to not vape.  

To combat the war on drugs, numerous developers have created vape detectors. Yes, you heard correct, vape detectors. After about a week-long calibration period, this machine tests the air content of the room and alerts school administration with discrepancies in the air content. This devices implementation would prevent vaping on school grounds and would improve the health conditions for hundreds of students. It has been recommended that the ideal location for these devices, are in the bathroom facilities in the schools, being that it’s one of the only available spaces not under surveillance. One school, in particular, St. Anthony’s, has spearheaded this project and is implementing two devices into their bathroom facilities. These devices test air content and alerted officials to any discrepancies. The question you may be wondering, is why wouldn’t every school own theses detectors? These devices cost roughly $1000, not including a separate installation fee of around $400. You may have seen this device on Good Morning America, technology magazines, or social media, due to it’s rampant and growing popularity. On the topic of the severity of vaping on school grounds and the implementation of vape detectors,  St. Anthony’s Dean of Men, Mr. Arrigo shared valuable insight on the subject. The topics of School security and public safety are two significant issues that Mr. Arrigo works diligently to improve, and has improved for the last sixteen years. A statement from our very own principal, Dr. Catapano, concurs with these issues being of critical importance when he made the following statement. “Everyone needs to understand the dangers and health risks associated with using a vaping device. They are not a safe alternative; they are illegal to possess by minors and are illegal for anyone to have on school grounds.” When asked to comment on his stance on the implementation of these devices, Dr. Catapano said, “I am in favor of any item that would ensure the safety of students and staff, and works to ensure an optimal environment conducive to learning.” Nurse Patty commented, “That is a great idea!” when asked regarding the topic of Vape detectors being installed on school grounds, which is in alignment with schools and administrators across the Island.

St. Anthony’s has led the charge to combat the vaping epidemic in our community, and protect students and staff. The question that we have today is whether or not Half Hollow Hills will follow suit. It has been speculated that the vaping trend is fading, but that is pure speculation and still affects the lives of thousands of students on Long Island, our county, our town, and our community.

 

Illustration by Alif, 2018.