Texas Schools Vape-Detecting Technology
Educators, who engage with students on a daily basis, have been on the front line of the vaping epidemic. According to 2019 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, more than a quarter (27.5 percent) of high school students reported vaping at least once in the previous month, and almost 1 million reported vaping everyday. In total, more than 5 million young people in the United States now vape. Teachers’ thoughts and experience add crucial context to the troubling statistics about vaping rates and health consequences. According to previous Truth Initiative studies, the number of teachers and administrators were disturbed about youth vaping on school grounds.
Almost three-quarters of teachers said vaping had become a bigger issue in their school recently. One stated that she was astounded by how many pupils vape or have attempted to vape, and that the disproportionately large number of vaping devices confiscated indicates a serious problem. According to another, “…kids appear to do it like it’s second nature, like breathing.” Teachers also stated that students frequently go to great measures to disguise their gadgets, such as putting them in hoodies, bras, hats, and shoes.
Adolescent cigarette smoking had been declining for more than four decades, but the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s annual survey indicated an increase in adolescents using Juuls and other e-cigarettes to inhale nicotine vapors. In 2018, nearly twice as many high school seniors polled vaped as in 2017, going from 11% to nearly 21%.
Is vaping prohibited for students in Texas public schools?
Yes. School boards are required by state law to prohibit students from smoking, using, or possessing e-cigarettes or tobacco products while participating in a school-related or school-sanctioned activity on or off school premises. 38.006 Tex. Educ. Code (b).
TASB’s Model Student Handbook language has been adopted by several districts. “students are forbidden from having or using any sort of tobacco product, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), or any other electronic vaporizing device while on school property at any time or while attending an off-campus school-related activity,” according to the Model Student Handbook. The district and its employees strictly enforce the prohibition on the use of all tobacco products, e-cigarettes, or any other electronic vaporizing device on school property and at school-sponsored and school-related activities by students and others.”
Difficulty catching students vaping
Teachers struggle due to the vaping devices’ inconspicuous nature. Instructors in this study reported that the latest vapes are simple to hide, odorless, and that student privacy rights posed a barrier to detecting the devices, echoing the experience of teachers across the country.
“We can’t enforce what we can’t see, so anytime privacy stands in the way of enforcing the rules, students’ decisions will always win out.”
Data from a national survey of teachers and administrators in school systems with vaping policies revealed that the properties of vaping devices made it more difficult to enforce school regulations, with most school staff citing the device’s discreet appearance (66 percent) and difficulty assessing the source of the vapor or scent (46 percent) as barriers to enforcement.
What Else Can Be Done?
Texas School Districts can now install the unique HALO Smart Vaping Sensor in bathrooms, dorm rooms, and locker rooms. The sensor alert school faculty by sending messages directly to their phones, allowing them to examine what triggered the warning. This can be also used in conjunction with security cameras to detect pupils who are participating in vandalism, bullying, or other disruptive actions.
The award-winning HALO IOT Smart Sensor has been assisting schools all over the world in combating the vaping pandemic. With its enhanced spoken key word and gunshot detection functions, this HALO device is a popular multi-purpose security solution for privacy zones – such as bathrooms, dorm rooms, locker rooms, and faculty rooms – where a video camera or recording conversations are not permitted.
Placing the HALO sensor in areas where kids regularly vape serves as both a deterrent and a detection mechanism. You can simply determine when and where students are smoking or vaping by sending real-time warnings to school administrators. The HALO sensor also enables personnel to be proactive rather than reactive.
A novel “masking” signature identification has been devised in order to advance HALO’s vape and THC detection capabilities. Individuals attempting to conceal their aerosol vaping behavior will now be recognized with the unique signature identifiers.
Sources & Additional Resources
- American Lung Association – E-cigarettes & Vaping: What Schools Should Know
- Texas Tribune – Students face felony charges, expulsions as Texas schools ramp up fight against vaping
- PWE – How One School Is Tackling the Youth Vaping Epidemic
- Association of Texas Professional Educators – Warning: Our Schools Contain Vaping
- TASB – Vaping in Texas Public Schools