The state, the feds, everyone is trying to crack down on the e-cigs and vaping epidemic among kids. Albuquerque Public Schools can certainly understand why, especially when it comes to high schools.
“I do believe a lot of the kids don’t even know what’s in the juice,” says Susan McKee.
McKee is the Counseling Director at Albuquerque Public Schools.
She says the juice used in an e-cigarette or vape pen is now being marketed specifically to students.
“There are e-juices that are called bubble gum, mint, fruit, vanilla custard, I saw one,” she says.
These juices can contain nicotine or THC, and many of the e-cigs and pens are even made to look like flash drives.
Vaping is starting to pop up everywhere in high schools. Students like Christopher Martinez say they can’t escape it.
“I’ll go in the restroom, there will be like 10 to 20 kids in the restroom smoking their wax pen and their cigarettes,” says Martinez.
That’s concerning for parents like Priscilla Drake.
“It could be more harmful to kids that don’t even realize it can be harmful to other kids without even thinking about it,” says Drake.
An APS principal says it’s now a constant battle to keep students from vaping on campus, catching them in bathrooms, hallways and out in the parking lot.
The staff is spending too much of their time dealing with the problem, which is interfering with school work.
“It’s happening on a daily basis. Whether or not kids get caught is another story,” says McKee.
While APS bans smoking of any kind, confiscating all e-cigs and vapes without exception and handing out suspensions, students and parents believe more could be done.
“I think they need to have the security guards walk past the restroom in the morning,” says Martinez.
“It makes me very cautious,” says Drake.
Seven high schools in APS have THC testing kits to detect what’s in the e-juices.
APS says it just received enough funding to have a testing kit at each high school within the district.
APS says faculty members also see parents vaping with their kids at drop off, and they’re also starting to see it in middle schools as well.
There are even some reports of confiscations in elementary schools.