Cracking Down on Vaping at Pennridge High School

Cracking Down on Vaping at Pennridge High School

According to the CDC, a 2019 survey showed that 27.5% of high school students have used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. That is more than one in every four students. While Pennridge High School is doing all that it can to combat teen vaping, the efforts are not making the difference that is needed. The high school remains a popular place for teens to vape and shows the severity of the teen vaping epidemic currently sweeping the nation.

Vaping is seen in the eyes of teens as a fun and social activity. The flavored pods (fruit, menthol, and mint being the most popular) keep them coming back. When looking at the amount of nicotine, the drug responsible for addiction, one pod can contain as much as an entire pack of cigarettes. However, an even stronger danger is the rise in THC content in vapes. Linda Tennett, PHS head nurse, explained that multiple students have visited the health office due to vaping potent THC. “They get nervous, they get sick… several come to the nurse on their own, seemingly under the influence.” She also said that there have been “six 9-1-1 calls this year due to students with an extremely high heart rate.” This infographic from the CDC explains more on the dangers of e-cigarettes.

So how is Pennridge preventing its students from vaping? And is it working?

The first step is for administration to learn about what is popular among teens and what the risks are. Dr. Stephen Cashman, Pennridge High School Principal, states that “I think if you asked me the difference between September and now, I think that adults are more aware.” The next step is to educate the community. On October 29, Pennridge hosted a Parent Education Night on vaping at which they explained dangers, answered questions, and showed examples of popular vaping devices. Finally, the high school must create and enforce strict policies against vaping. This is where improvements need to be made.

The high school bathrooms have been transformed into a hangout for illegal activity. We are now at the point where many students will not use the bathrooms before lunches or during class changes because they are too crowded due to students meeting up to vape. A current student at Pennridge High School said, “literally a lot of people do it in there, and if a teacher or security walks in, they’ll give them a signal to put it away.” He added, “It works well.”

Students have been properly educated on what they should and should not do. There is no reason administrators should not walk into the bathroom and search students. Yes, parents and students will complain, but this is allowed by the school policy. Maybe every lunch period there should be someone stationed outside the bathroom. Every one student that gets away with this act inspires another to try the same thing.