NY school installs sensors to cut down on students vaping

May 2, 2018

As teachers across the country combat the growing numbers of students vaping in schools, administrators are now using technology in high school bathrooms to cut down on e-cigarettes.

Edward Salina, the superintendent for Plainedge Public Schools on Long Island, told ABC News’ Brad Mielke during an interview for the “Start Here” podcast that Plainedge High School is involved in a pilot program for Fly Sense, a sensor system that alerts school officials when students are vaping.

“There’s a sensor inside there that is able to detect vape and what it does is it sets off an alarm, which is basically sent to an administrator who reports to the bathroom in order to inspect what’s going on,” he said.

Fly Sense, which is also an anti-smoking and anti-bullying sensor system, can be placed where cameras aren’t allowed, such as in bathrooms or locker rooms. Salina said the high school has cameras located outside bathrooms to catch people five minutes before they enter and five minutes after they exit the bathroom.

A 2016 report from the U.S. Surgeon General said e-cigarette use increased 900% among high school students from 2011 to 2015.

E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid that may contain nicotine and other flavorings, and when the liquid is heated into an aerosol, users inhale it into their lungs, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Vaping is hard to detect because it doesn’t have an odor and devices can be disguised to look like everyday items. Salina said products under the JUUL Labs brand, which resemble USB sticks, allow kids in schools to take a quick puff and hide the e-cigarette in a jacket or under their arm.

ABC News reached out to JUUL for comment but did not immediately hear back. JUUL last week announced it would support efforts to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 and would spend $30 million to combat underage use of e-cigarettes.

There is some skepticism that the sensor system will make a difference in stopping students from vaping, according to Salina, but he sees it as more of a “deterrent.”

ABC News has the full story

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