Capital Region schools continue to face vaping crisis

    FILE - In this April 11, 2018, file photo, an unidentified 15-year-old high school student uses a vaping device near the school's campus in Cambridge, Mass. A school-based survey shows nearly 1 in 11 U.S. students have used marijuana in electronic cigarettes, heightening concern about the new popularity of vaping among teens. E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine, but results published Monday, Sept. 17, mean a little more than 2 million middle and high school students have used the devices to get high. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

    COLONIE, N.Y. (WRGB) - There's growing concern at Colonie Central High School about a growing number of students using e-cigarette devices, also known as vaping and Juuling.

    Executive principal Christopher Robilotti says the school is now averaging around three e-cigarette violations a week.

    “We've surpassed last year's total, in half of a year,” Robilotti said.

    Schalmont High School is also seeing an increase. They've already suspended 15-20 students this year for vaping violations.

    And those numbers mirror a national trend. The National Youth Tobacco Survey found in 2018, high school student e-cigarette use increased 78 percent from 2017.

    "I don't always feel like it's a student who is just trying or if it's peer pressure at this point. I feel like we have students who need to do it. They're addicted," Robilotti said.

    One kind of e cigarette use called Juuling is growing in popularity. The Centers for Disease Control says one Juul pod has as much nicotine as an entire 20 pack of cigarettes.

    That’s one of the reasons why the school's holding a public forum on Wednesday where they'll inform parents and students about the dangers of these devices.

    "It's not something that we're gonna be able to win on our own. So we need the help of parents,” Robilotti said.

    Robilotti says vaping in school results in a three day suspension. But he says discipline isn't always the best solution. He says instead of being reactive, the district has to train parents and staff to be proactive.

    "I think that the devices have become so clever that they're easily concealed and there may be opportunities for students to be doing things in their own home and their parent may not even know,” Robilotti said.

    The Schalmont Central School District is also having an open forum about vaping devices. That is on Tuesday, January 15th at Schalmont Middle School LGI from 7-8.

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