Fighting the E-cigarette: A School in Nebraska is Testing Students for Nicotine
To counteract this trend, the school administration is taking drastic measures: From autumn this year, all students taking part in after-school activities will be subjected to random nicotine tests. This should apply to those students who participate in working groups such as sports or music.
Stephen Grizzle, the headmaster of Fairbury School, said it was a huge problem. It was very starry-eyed to assume that the students did not consume e-cigarettes. He also said that he wanted to create a school where there were no harmful substances. This measure should help the students to make the right decisions.
Increase in E-cigarette Consumption among StudentsSmoking is a general problem, but vaping is currently very prevalent. The district and the school serve a rural community with about 3,900 inhabitants in the southeast of Nebraska. The Board of Education approved the new Nicotine Testing Directive in the past month.
This action shall be seen as a proactive measure. Punishing the children is not the intention, they simply want to give them an incentive to avoid nicotine.
Smoking is prohibited in all areas and in any form on the school premises. But it is now expected that the tests will also affect the consumption of nicotine outside the school.
According to health experts, the rise in consumption of electronic cigarettes in Fairbury is a sign of a nationwide epidemic of a vaping youth.
A survey from 2018 by the Disease Control and Prevention Center discovered that more than 3 million high school students and approximately 570,000 middle school students were familiar with the use of e-cigarettes. The authors of the study attributed this to the popularity of Juul brand e-cigarettes, which resemble a USB stick. The advantage of these products is that they can be used discreetly. In addition, there are many different flavours and this also appeals to teens.
How Should the Nicotine Test be Carried out?Every month, 20 to 25 children from Fairbury are randomly selected to undergo a nicotine urine test, said Headmaster Grizzle. If it turns out that nicotine has been consumed, the affected student will be suspended from participating in extracurricular activities for ten days.
In the event of a repeated incident, the student may be suspended for 45 days. In addition, they will be required to undergo examination at they own expense by a certified drug counsellor or a licensed psychiatrist. For a third offence, the student will not be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities for 12 months.
Grizzle said that vaping is not only unhealthy, but also violates the law. Therefore, young people should not be able to buy these products. In addition, students will focus more on the lesson when they were no longer concerned with when and where they can vape.
Many states in the US have already made attempts to stop adolescents from using e-cigarettes. At least a dozen US states have raised the minimum age to 21 for buying tobacco products. E-cigarettes are legal in Nebraska for consumers above 18, but legislations aim to raise it to 19 years.
Teenagers and E-cigarettes in the US
Dr. Sharon Levy, who is a paediatrician as well as the head of the program for substance use and addiction of adolescents at the Children's Hospital of Boston, stated that most adolescents don’t know how hazardous vaping can be.
The scientist stated that nicotine was included in e-cigarettes. But the difference lies in how nicotine is delivered. According to Levy, it is possible to consume a higher dose faster. When vaping, the teenagers are mainly taking nicotine, but the devices could also be filled with marijuana.
Juul, a popular brand among the youth, can be used to consume high doses of nicotine. Levy stated it was also problematic because it is not yet known how nicotine in e-cigarettes could affect an adolescent's brain in the long term.
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