Headteacher installs vape alarms to stop students puffing in toilets | UK News


Headteacher installs vape alarms to stop students puffing in toilets | UK News

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One in five young people tried vaping last year (Picture: EPA)

A Scottish secondary school headteacher has installed vaping alarms to stop students from puffing in the toilets between classes.

With an increasing number of vapes making their way into the hands of children, the Royal High School in Edinburgh has said: ‘Enough is enough.’

The school has invested £1,000 in the detectors that emit a screeching alarm if vaping happens near them.

Headteacher Pauline Walker told BBC Scotland: ‘We want to send a message loud and clear. Vaping is not acceptable. We will not permit it. We will not promote it.’

One in five young people between the ages of 11 and 17 tried vaping last year, according to the charity Action on Smoking and Health.

Vapes are a type of e-cigarette that has a battery-powered device that heats a cartridge of liquid containing nicotine – it’s these chemicals the alarms pick up.

Royal High School administrators placed the alarms in three toilets in the hopes it would allow students to re-claim the facilities, rather than them be spaces for pupils to vape out of sight.

Officials and teachers feel that vapes are geared towards young people (Picture: EPA)

Teachers have to patrol the corridors to catch anyone skipping class to vape, with educators saying about half of the school’s 1,400 students have tried it.

Chris Davison, chairman of the Royal High’s parent council, said the issue of vaping had been brought up by worried parents time and time again.

Calling it a ‘national crisis’, Davison added: ‘A lot of parents are concerned about the health impacts of vaping and the anti-social behaviour element.’

The environmental impacts too. Most vapes are disposable plastic ones that only last a few hundred puffs.

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When binned, the lithium batteries that powered them can contaminate water supplies and ecosystems.

An estimated five million vapes were thrown away every week last year.

Royal High School is in no way alone. With their trendy packaging and fruit and sweet flavours, the devices have proved all too appealing to teens and children.

The government is working to restrict how vapes can be sold (Picture: Anadolu)

In data obtained by BBC Scotland, at least 770 vapes were confiscated at schools across just 10 local authorities including Aberdeen, East Lothian and Stirling.

TikTok has been partly blamed for the rise, with studies suggesting that some content creators portray vaping as a positive thing. Peep pressure doesn’t help either.

The government hopes to introduce new laws to ban single-use vapes, restrict flavours and regulate how the devices are packaged and displayed.

It isn’t illegal for someone under 18 to vape but it is for those products being sold to them.

Some corner shops illegally sell vapes to children as young as 12, trading standards officials have found.

Instead, the government wants vapes to be aimed at adults hoping to quit smoking. However, researchers are conflicted about whether they’re the best way to do so as much as vaping is ‘substantially less harmful than smoking‘.

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