Are my pupils vaping in school? How to spot the signs

Vaping in schools, colleges and universities has become a growing concern in worldwide. With e-cigarettes and vapes becoming more popular and discreet, it’s important for teachers, parents, and school administrators to know how to spot the signs of vaping.

We’ve put together a quick-fire guide that highlights the tell-tale signs of vaping in your schools, and what you can do to address the problem.

First, we need to get an understanding of the landscape. Vaping has become a growing trend across the younger generation. With its vast array of sweet scents and well-marketed packaging, it’s become a popular craze that’s gone way beyond being just a flavour of the month.

Vapes, vape pods, e-cigarettes… there’s many names for vape devices, but all of them have the same signature characteristics and leave the same trail.

Discarded vaping pods

Discarded vape pods are popping up everywhere. From batteries to fluid pods or even whole disposable devices, you might find these wedged between furniture cushions, in holes in the wall, in school bathrooms, or on the school outdoor grounds. This is an issue for effective waste management, as well as accidental nicotine poisoning.

Signature sweet scents

Vapes are notorious for their diverse range of super sweet scents, everything from fruity flavours to seasonal gingerbread. It’s easy to spot, which is beneficial for teaching staff, although it quickly dissipates and doesn’t linger on clothes as long as tobacco smoke.

Vapour clouds

Much like cigarette smoke, vapes leave behind a white cloud. Vape vapour disappears quickly, within 10-15 seconds, which can make it difficult to catch someone in the act. That said, the chemicals remain in the space for considerably longer.

Behavioural changes

Though it might be hard to separate normal levels of teenage angst with the side effects of vape, it is important to highlight that vaping has been shown to cause anxiety in young adults. Isolated, this isn’t a sign of vaping, but paired with other signs, it’s something to keep an eye on. You might also detect a level of secrecy, as vaping is a banned activity. Popping to the bathroom frequently might also be a sign, as pupils are heading to bathrooms to vape in privacy.

Physical signs

Again, other signs that on their own don’t raise too much concern or suspicion are sores around the mouth, prolonged or consistent cough, nosebleeds or increased thirst. Another sign may be evidence that the student has trouble sleeping, such as turning up to class consistently tired, sleep deprived or struggling to concentrate.

An increase in USB devices

It would be strange to suddenly start seeing an influx of USB devices around your school if not for a vape epidemic. If this starts to happen, it’s a strong sign that vaping is occurring on site.

Vape detectors: The most effective way to mitigate vaping in your school or college is to install vape detectors. This effective technology is designed to be sensitive enough to pick up the smallest particles found in vape fluid. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing a vape detector. From how many units to purchase to where to put them, our team can help you find the perfect setup.

Other strategies you can use alongside vape detectors:

Education and awareness: Host educational sessions about the dangers of vaping, including health risks and the potential for nicotine addiction. Involve and engage parents in the conversation by providing information about vaping and encouraging them to discuss the risks with their children.

Policies and enforcement: Create clear safeguarding and school policies to ensure that the school’s stance around vaping is clear, well-communicated, and enforced consistently.

Random checks: Conduct random checks in common areas like bathrooms and lockers to deter vaping, keeping an eye out for discarded pods or parts.

Support systems: Offer counselling and support for students who are caught vaping or who voluntarily seek help to quit, as well as peer programs to help promote a healthy, anti-vape culture within peer groups.

Whether you want a centralised security system that connects CCTV with vape detector technology, or you’re looking for simple units that just do the detection basics, we’ve got options for every need and budget.

Chat to our team or head to our website to discover the Verkada product range or what our StaySecure vape detectors.

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