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U.S. schools install vape detectors, no interest from B.C. school districts

Lethbridge school districts enact strict vaping policies.
Lethbridge school districts enact strict vaping policies. Global News

Schools in the U.S. are starting to fight back against vaping with a new tool.

Vape detectors.

In New Jersey, Sparta Township School District Michael Rossi Jr. said two have been installed in washrooms in one high school.

“They are in and they are working, unfortunately, they’ve been going off pretty consistently all day. They can distinguish between a vape, a cigarette, let’s say a candle, it identifies particles.”

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Rossi Jr. said the detectors are meant to curb vaping on school property, to go along with education and awareness efforts.

“It triggers the camera system, to capture that moment in time as people come out of the washrooms, both male and female.”

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READ MORE: ‘Everyone is doing it, it’s cool’: B.C. students talk about the highs and lows of vaping

In Ohio, Revere Local School District has installed 16 according to Superintendent Matthew Montgomery.

“The issue is omnipresent, we are using as many different approaches as possible to encourage our students to stop this process, or better yet never begin.”

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The device and technology allows school administrators to be notified quickly through text.

“The people who respond are educational administrators and school resource officers. They get a text message of the location of which the alarm is being activated. We are fortunate that there are numerous cameras in the building, where if they get to a location and students are not in the area, they can review the tape.”

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It seems schools in B.C. have yet to give vape detectors some thought.

In New Westminster, Superintendent Karim Hachlaf said he has some concerns around cameras and privacy.

“Frankly right now, it’s not a strategy that aligns with our work.”

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“We have our core values – collaboration, inclusion and engagement – and that does not translate in my view to begin to install vape detectors. Rather it means working alongside our students, staff and community… we are in an educational environment and I think that’s our focus.”

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READ MORE: ‘Vape bans or buffer zones’: The call to regulate vaping the same way as cannabis

City of North Vancouver Board Chair Christie Sacre says vape detectors are not on the board’s radar, yet.

“With education, I hope we don’t come to a need of putting in vaping detectors.”

The Surrey School Board says it hasn’t given any thought to the idea.

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