Vaping at BSM


Mason Baldwin

BSM theater bathrooms closed to students during the school day to prevent vaping.

Mason Baldwin and Nick Graczyk

Using E-Cigarettes or “vaping” became popular in the 2010’s with major corporations such as Juul, Smok, and Puff largely taking over the industry and popularizing “vapes” amongst American teens. BSM has implemented various ways to prevent students from vaping such as hallway monitors and a “drug dog” which is able to smell for vapes and other drugs that students may be bringing into the school.

Students have responded to this issue in various ways, many appreciating the schools care for the safety of the students. Other students desire freedom and trust from the administration to not bring a dog into the school to search for drugs, viewing this action as intrusive. While the administration believes vaping is a large issue that needs to be addressed, people such as BSM’s Chemical Health Counselor Ms. Alexandra Wyss are finding ways to combat the problem. “I think that vaping is what you could call a youth epidemic right now. The rates have increased a lot over the last five years I think because they are marketed specifically to youth, they’re easy to hide, you can’t smell them like you can traditional cigarettes, and then nicotine unfortunately is a lot higher than a traditional cigarette, they’re more addictive,” Wyss said.

Students have been known to use bathrooms during the day as an opportunity to vape. This is a problem for many reasons as it takes away vital class time, affects their personal health and well being, along with possibly harming peers and the community as a whole. The administration commonly locks the theater restrooms because they become a hotspot for students to vape during the day. “[We are trying] to crack down in terms of the bathroom is where it happens most often. Not necessarily like passing times, but like with kids taking hall passes to the bathroom [to vape]. I think that monitoring the bathrooms actually helped a lot with reducing it,” Wyss said.

Others students may not be bringing devices into school but instead partaking in vaping at home or with friends. Vaping forces additional problems for BSM students; having “cravings” during the day could also become a large conflict with learning and make it difficult for students to get through the day without it. Students anonymously discussed how nicotine can affect their mentality during school. “I struggle most days without it [nicotine] but I really try to refrain from vaping at school just because if I get caught I would get in a lot of trouble… I usually need to rip it every hour or so, whenever I can get a chance too,” an anonymous student said.

Adults may pose the question “how are teens getting their hands on a vaping device?” This could stem from local smoke stores not asking for proper identification from their customers or buying them from people that are of age. “I have found it rather easy to get my hands on a nicotine device almost every day just because they are so popular among teens everywhere. If I really wanted to get my hands on it during the school day I think I would be able to,” an anonymous student said.

Many students have an issue with vaping being present around them and want to help stop the “epidemic” as Ms. Wyss stated. “I feel like it is really not up to them [administration] to prevent students from using at school, but rather the students to come together and fight against this issue… I used to be very addicted to it [vaping] but my friends kind of intervened with me, and ever since I have been very against it because it is just like putting random chemicals into your body…I used to vape throughout the day all the time and I would really encourage others to stop,” an anonymous student said.