Teens vaping and smoking electronic cigarettes is becoming such a problem Germantown Schools is going on the offensive.
Students will now have lessons about the risks of e-cigarettes. The district is even holding a workshop for parents.
The superintendent said this year there has been a rise in the number of disciplinary actions involving students possessing or using electronic cigarettes.
The number of students smoking e-cigarettes has reached epidemic levels across the U.S., according to the Food and Drug administration, which says more than three million teens are now vaping nationwide.
Not only can vape pens and e-cigs hold flavored tobacco; some can also hold THC. And unlike regular cigarettes, with vaping there is little or no smell.
“That’s one of our challenges, with smoking you can smell that something is burning. You can smell it in the bathroom or the room,” said Germantown Municipal Schools Superintendent Jason Manuel.
Germantown Schools sent a letter to parents reminding them of the punishment if students are caught vaping. They also informed parents that students in 6th through 12th grade will be receiving additional health lessons on the risks associated with e-cigs.
“Vaping is dangerous. Kids should not be doing that just because of the risk of taking these chemicals, but because it encourages the behavior of smoking,” said Dr. Mark Castellaw with Baptist Medical Group.
Castellaw applauds Germantown schools for doing more to educate students and parents on vaping dangers, adding, “the only things you’re supposed to be taking into your lungs is air.”
The school district will also hold a workshop for parents. E-cigs can often go undetected by unsuspecting parents.
“A student can have something that looks like a USB. They have them that look like a tube of lipstick. They have them that look like pens. They have them that look like the end of a hoodie of a sweatshirt,” said Manuel.
The workshop is being held April first at Houston High School.