MISHICOT, Wis. (WFRV) — Officials at the School District of Mishicot say they’ve seen an increase in instances of students vaping over the past few years.
“Vaping is almost at an epidemic level,” Superintendent and High School Principal Dr. Paul Orlich said. “It’s finding its way down to middle schools.”
To combat that problem, the district is adding a new program, called “VapeEducate.”
This year, seventh and ninth-grade students will work through the five-hour program.
“We should be providing education to our students as well as parents on the danger of vaping and the long term health impacts for those adolescents that are using it,” Dr. Orlich said. “I don’t believe just in consequences in terms of trying to alleviate the problem.”
Consequences for vaping at school are spelled out in a village ordinance signed in March, which bans tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, from public school grounds and facilities.
Dr. Orlich added that the school has also created an anonymous tipline for students to report other students for vaping on school property.
He hopes that the new program will help eliminate the problem before it becomes a legal matter by leading students to think critically about what vaping could lead to.
“Adolescents in general, sort of being more willing to take risks and not really think ing about how some of those negative health impacts will affect them,” Dr. Orlich said.
He added that he believes the industry has stacked the deck against students by making the product more accessible and appealing to young people.
“It’s tootie frootie and Froot Loop flavored,” Dr. Orlich said. “They’re more easy to conceal now, they’re readily available, the marketing is strictly toward kids.”
VapeEducate focuses in part on understanding how marketing in the vaping industry works, along with the dangers of addiction, health risks, and vaping marijuana.
Dr. Orlich told Local 5 that the program should get students thinking.
“That they would be able to translate that learning into other settings out in the community, at home, and when they’re out and about with their friends,” he said, “that they’d know that there are genuine health risks with engaging in this behavior.”
To learn more about VapeEducate, click here.