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The Crimson

The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

The student news site of Bernards High School

The Crimson

Not enough is being done to stop vaping on school grounds

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The vaping epidemic at BHS persists as students continue to vape in the restrooms.

Smoking and vaping at Bernards High School is a problem that has been going on for decades, and while the school is doing their best to tackle the issue, students continue to vape anyway. The students who vape in our school’s restrooms are considered a nuisance by the students who don’t vape, as the stench of the fumes drives out those who need to use the restroom for its intended purpose.

This is a problem especially during a time when finding an unlocked restroom is already difficult enough. Yet, as time goes on, students continue to vape regardless of how others are impacted. While the efforts the school is making to combat the issue are effective, more needs to be done if we want to see change.

Dr. Corbett, Bernards High School’s vice principal, said that “[he would] definitely agree with [students] that vaping is a problem, and [the school has] taken a number of steps to try to minimize the amount of vaping that takes place, and [he doesn’t] think we will ever get to a point where there is never any vaping in school. [He wishes] we could, but [he thinks] that’s unrealistic.”

The American Lung Association says that “more than 480,000 people die from tobacco” every year, and that “each day thousands of kids still pick up a tobacco product for the first time.” Being advertised as a healthier replacement for cigarettes, e-cigarettes work by heating up a liquid until it turns into a vapor that users can inhale, but the chemicals and ingredients in the liquid are very harmful. Such ingredients include but are not limited to the highly addictive chemical nicotine, benzene which can be found in car exhaust, metals such as lead and nickel, and carcinogens which can cause cancer.

Studies have shown that e-cigarettes are far more dangerous than regular cigarettes, and to support this, a JUUL manufacturer said that a single JUUL is just as bad as a pack of cigarettes. The thousands of flavors which are targeting teenagers makes vaping far worse. Around 43% of students interviewed either don’t know or aren’t sure of what is inside of a vaping device, and that lack of knowledge makes them more likely to fall victim to smoking.

According to the BHS Handbook 2022-2023, the disciplinary consequences for a first-time offense are as follows: Four days of out of school suspension, 30 days suspension from activities such as sports or clubs, as well as loss of parking privileges. The school will also take measures to help the students get the aid that they need and have them participate in re-admittance programs. However, 40% of students would say that this isn’t effective enough. More severe consequences for first offenses wouldn’t solve the problem, and it is important to consider that nicotine is a very dominating chemical that clouds the smoker’s judgments and is very difficult to break away from. While punishments such as loss of privileges and suspension might work, more emphasis on rehabilitation programs, mental health, and other forms of treatment early on could be more effective.

Dr. Neigel, Bernards High School’s principal, said that “students are given disciplinary consequences and referred to the student assistance counselor for possible nicotine cessation programs. Administration and hall monitors have been checking restrooms regularly to dissuade students from vaping in the restrooms.”

Two thirds of the students interviewed know at least one person in their lives who has smoked or vaped in the past, and many of them continue to do so. As someone who has seen people closest to me fall victim to vaping, I have intense ire towards this matter. I have a little brother who will be going to BHS next school year, and I do not want him or other teens being exposed to vaping inside of a school environment. We all want the best for the people we care about, but if action is not taken immediately, this situation will only continue to grow worse.

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