Vaping has become unbelievably popular in North America over the past couple of years. After a surge in vaping numbers and the availability of vapes and vaping products, many provinces are scrambling to put restrictions in place to regulate the use of vapes. As concern grows surrounding vaping and youth in Canada, one high school has taken a creative approach to target vaping in B.C. schools. Revelstoke Secondary School has put a program in place to buy back students vapes in exchange for cafeteria credit.
Narcity spoke to the principal of Revelstoke Secondary School, Greg Kenyon, to learn more about the unique approach. Kenyon gave us a little background.
"Schools and society, in general, have done a really good job talking about the harmful effects of cigarette smoking. Five years ago we had only about eight smokers left in the school and five of them were in grade 12," he explained. He told us that the school was looking forward to smoking completely tapering off when, all of a sudden, vaping emerged.
When vaping exploded, "we realized we had around 50 students who were vaping," said Kenyon. The school, along with several other schools in North America, was facing a significant issue surrounding youth vape use.
The Revelstoke school started looking into how to ensure the laws and regulations of the province and the school board were being enforced but also how to support students who were rapidly becoming addicted to nicotine, Kenyon told us. In addition, "what we were really becoming concerned with is that students were selling older vapes to younger kids," he explained. With all of these things in mind, the school began to brainstorm ideas to tackle the issue.
"I threw out the idea of what if we bought their vapes and cave them cafeteria credit," said Kenyon. After the idea was well-received, he spoke to the superintendent who was incredibly supportive and said the school would find the money for the program, one way or another.
"The absolutely wonderful thing is that our local community has completely jumped on board. The parent advisory committee has made it very clear they will support this, we’ve even had a local business write us a cheque already. The entire community is absolutely on board," the principal told us.
So far, the program has been a success. Some students have quit vaping since the program has been introduced. Most importantly, the incentive is "ensuring that those vapes are never getting into the hands of other kids."
As for the students, "they saw it as an opportunity because, with the recent attention on vaping related illnesses, the students don’t want younger kids to start," Kenyon explained.
This program uses both creativity and compassion to target something that is impacting young people across the country.