The number of students who are vaping is increasing in the San Luis Coastal Unified School District, according to the results from two student surveys.
- File Photo By Jayson Mellom
- YOUNG ADDICTION San Luis Coastal raises concerns over reports that 30 percent of its 11th graders have vaped more than once.
"Today, we are seeing something far different and much more troubling than anything I've seen before: the clever introduction of vaping into the mainstream culture among students," district Superintendent Eric Prater wrote in a blog post about the surveys.
During a Nov. 15 district board meeting, San Luis Coastal released the results of its California Healthy Kids Survey and Youth Truth Survey—administered to all seventh, ninth, and 11th grade students. The surveys showed that approximately 30 percent of 11th graders report having vaped more than four times and 11 percent have vaped while at school.
"In other words, they are struggling with addiction. I expect this number is actually higher than reported given my conversations with our site leaders," Prater wrote.
At the November meeting, San Luis Obispo High School Principal Leslie O'Connor provided a handful of vaping products that have been confiscated since the beginning of the school year, including JUULs, Sourins, and vape pens.
"These students say they can't get through class without using and are addicted to the product," O'Connor said.
The school implemented new measures for disciplining students who have been caught vaping. The first offense requires Saturday school, a call to parents, and confiscation; the second requires a one-day suspension, call home, confiscation, and encouragement to visit counseling; and the third results in a three-day suspension and mandated drug and alcohol counseling, along with a parent call and confiscation.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the results of a 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey showed that more than 3.6 million middle and high school students were e-cigarette users in 2018, a dramatic increase of more than 1.5 million students since 2017.
The report goes on to say the survey suggests that the rise in e-cigarette use is likely due to the recent popularity of certain types of e-cigarettes, such as JUUL.
JUUL is cartridge-based and can be used discreetly because of its resemblance to a slim USB—a flash drive.
Vapes and e-ciagrettes deliver nicotine to the body through inhalation without the tobacco smell that comes with it—some nicotine cartridges come in flavors camouflaging the tobacco smell. The cartridges can hold nicotine or liquid THC.
For now San Luis Coastal is working with site administrators and parent leaders to schedule public forums to begin discussions with parents, staff, and students on how to respond to the issue.
Lucia Mar Unified School District's results of the California Healthy Kids Survey reported that 16 percent of the district's 11th graders have vaped or used an e-cigarette four or more times. Δ