Kīhei Charter School is leading the way when it comes to taking innovative steps to eliminate vaping on campus.
Money was raised to install state-of-the-art vape detectors in all eight school bathrooms, resulting in an almost complete drop-off in vaping on the campus, according to a news release.
“Not only are we able to work toward preventing students from vaping on campus, but through our counseling programs, we are also able to address and support the students who may be addicted,” Michael Stubbs, Head of School, said in the release.
Hawaiʻi leads national averages for vaping in both middle and high school students, the school said. According to a Youth Risk Behavior Survey detailed by the Hawaiʻi Department of Health earlier this year, nearly one in three Hawai‘i high school students report having vaped in the last 30 days – a 20% increase in just two years.
Youth who use e-cigarettes are four times more likely to try regular cigarettes, and three times more likely to become cigarette smokers, according to the state Department of Health’s Living Healthy Hawaiʻi website. Most youth do not think regularly using e-cigarettes is harmful, and many do not know they contain nicotine, according to the DOH.
To raise the money, the school partnered with a parent donor who gave $3,500, which was matched with a school GoFundMe campaign. The vape detectors were installed in the bathrooms because most kids were vaping there, according to the release.
Ellen Federoff, high school director, said the effort was not to punish the students.
Instead, the project will hopefully “open the students’ eyes to things that they were doing that were not healthy and to show them that we care,” she said in the release.
Kendall Dusenberry, a student in Grade 9, lauded the school’s work to curb vaping.
“It’s making me pretty happy,” she said in the release. “I’ve always been very upset about all that stuff. So many people our age and on this island have so much access to it and people didn’t really care. So, the fact that they are doing something about it is really good… Vaping is one of the worst things you can do.”
Kīhei Charter School started in 2001 and has 700 students from K-12.
More information about how public and private schools can purchase vaping detectors is available by calling Michael Stubbs, Kīhei Charter Head of School, at 808-875-0700 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.