3 March, 2023


In recent weeks Heads of School at the Penquite campus have addressed Middle and Senior students about the risks associated with vaping. Vaping, the act of inhaling and exhaling vapor produced by an electronic cigarette, is a relatively new phenomenon that has grown rapidly in popularity in recent years, especially among teenagers. While it is commonly perceived as a safer alternative to smoking, there are significant risks associated with vaping, particularly for teenagers.

Recently, the College has installed vape detectors in changerooms around the Penquite campus. These detectors are sensitive not only to the harmful chemicals in vapes, but also to tampering, aggression and ‘masking’ behaviour. Masking is when an aerosol or other agent is sprayed to ‘mask’ the chemical particles produced by vaping. These sensors can also detect harmful chemicals contained in cigarettes and other illicit drugs.

One of the main concerns about vaping for teenagers is the potential for addiction to nicotine. Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance that can have long-term health effects. Inhaling nicotine through vaping can lead to addiction, as well as potentially harmful changes to the developing brain.

In addition to the risk of addiction, vaping can also have negative effects on lung health. Vaping liquids can contain chemicals and other substances that can irritate the lungs and cause inflammation. This can lead to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. In severe cases, vaping has been linked to lung damage and even death.

The use of aerosol deodorants is already banned at school. Asthmatics are at increased risk from exposure to aerosol particles, which can aggravate their respiratory symptoms and trigger asthma attacks. These irritants are released by spraying aerosol deodorants. Inhaling these particles can cause inflammation in the airways and lead to breathing difficulties, wheezing, and coughing.

Another risk associated with vaping for teenagers is the potential for exposure to harmful chemicals. While e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they often contain nicotine and do contain other chemicals that can be harmful when inhaled. These include flavourings, propylene glycol, and other chemicals used in the production of the vaping liquid. Long-term exposure to these chemicals can have negative effects on health, particularly for developing bodies.

There is also a risk of injury associated with vaping. The batteries used in e-cigarettes can malfunction and explode, causing burns and other injuries. This risk is particularly high for teenagers who may not understand the risks associated with using these devices or who may be using cheap, low-quality e-cigarettes.

We are adopting an educative approach in our response to vaping incidents. The detectors are linked to security cameras at the entrance points to changerooms and we can identify students who have been in these spaces at the time of a positive detection. From next week we will be speaking with students who are identified as being present when a vaping incident occurs. For more information about the risks associated with vaping, please refer to SchoolTV, where you can find several articles and other support material.

Ben Marsland
Deputy Principal