Revelstoke high school starts ‘buy-back’ program for vape pens

Over 45 vapes have been bought and exchanged for cafeteria credit

A British Columbia high school has launched a vape buy back program to reduce and stop students from vaping.

The program in Revelstoke encourages students to exchange their vape devices for credit at the cafeteria. As of Oct. 30, 45 vapes have been “bought.”

At a school assembly at the start of the year, Greg Kenyon, the principal for Revelstoke Secondary School (RSS), told students about the dangers of vaping.

“If you choose to vape, you are hurting your health, and, in the case of indoors especially, you are hurting others too – be good to each other,” said Kenyon.

Mike Hooker, superintendent of School District 19 in Revelstoke, said this program may be the first of its kind.

READ MORE: ‘It’s an epidemic’: vaping concerns raised at school board meeting

READ MORE: Talk to your kids about vaping, B.C.’s top doctor says

Last month, Kenyon sent an email to parents about the dangers of vaping.

“We believe that the entire school community needs to address this issue. As such, parents need to continue to have great proactive discussions with their children about the harmful effects of vaping,” said the letter.

It also explained two other approaches the school is taking to help curb vaping. One includes seizing vapes and not returning when used in the school or on school property.

The other encourages students to pursue cessation assistance, whether that means speaking with a health professional, visiting a local pharmacy for nicotine replacement, or just chewing the free gum RSS offers.

READ MORE: B.C. school trustees ask for provincial, federal help to end student vaping

According to youth drug survey data from 2017, more than half of high school students in Revelstoke reported that they have tried vaping and 12 per cent vaped daily.

A study from the University of Waterloo last year said Canadian teenage vaping rates have substantially increased by roughly 80 per cent in one year alone across Canada.

However, Hooker noted in a school board meeting this week that vaping numbers in Revelstoke appear to be dropping. He said anecdotal evidence suggests fewer students are vaping during breaks and lunch off school grounds. In addition, incidents of vaping in school have decline significantly.

He attributes the drop partially to recent lawsuits being brought against vaping companies and increasing reports on vaping causing illnesses.

For example, two B.C. men have filed a civil claim with the Supreme Court of British Columbia against vape brand Juul, after allegedly suffering “adverse health conditions” including pulmonary disease, from using the company’s popular e-cigarettes.

The two men accuse Juul Labs Canada in Vancouver and Juul Labs Inc. in San Francisco of “misleading and/or deceptive statements” including marketing to minors and implying that vaping is safer than smoking.

Hooker said Revelstoke students are also “feeling used and tricked” by vaping companies.

“The students are getting that it was marketed towards them,” he said.

According to Health Canada, as of Oct. 29, there are five confirmed or probable cases of severe lung illnesses related to vaping. Two of which are in Quebec, two in New Brunswick and one in B.C.

READ MORE: First case of ‘probable’ vaping-related illness in B.C. ‘not surprising’: UBC prof

READ MORE: New vaping regulations on the way, B.C.’s health minister says

Latest numbers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. links 38 deaths to vaping. However, the center also reported that the number of people sickened by vaping-related illnesses has jumped to 1,888 in the U.S.

Health Canada is advising Canadians who use vaping products to monitor themselves for symptoms of pulmonary illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) and seek medical attention promptly if they have concerns about their health.

At the Revelstoke school board meeting earlier this week, the board passed a motion urging the provincial and federal health authorities to quickly enact “necessary legislation and/or regulation to assist schools in efforts to protect students from series health risks associated with vaping.”


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sexual assault stories from treeplanting camps ‘shocking but not surprising’

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Sweet way to raise money for furry friends in need

Fundraiser underway until March 1 at West Kootenay Animal Clinic

Trucking company fined $175K for Lemon Creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

Interior Health leading the way with innovative therapy for stroke patients

Percentage of ischemic stroke patients who received treatment has risen dramatically

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Lawyer gets house arrest for possessing child porn

Maple Ridge resident gets nine-month term

Most Read