The use of vape products among teenagers has remained a major concern for Vermont school and health officials. According to the 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, roughly 16% of high school students in Vermont reported vaping in the last month, with approximately 30% of these students admitting to daily vaping habits.
Officials at Champlain Valley Union High School, one of the largest schools in Vermont, report catching students vaping on a weekly basis. The Champlain Valley School District has partnered with 22 other districts in Vermont, participating in the Kids Against Tobacco program aimed at addressing the issue of teenage vaping.
While preventing students from obtaining vapes in the first place is difficult, the treatment and support to help students kick the habit is vital, especially following the pandemic, where substance abuse issues have become more pronounced. The program at Champlain Valley School District is continuing for at least two more years.
Health officials explain that vaping is linked with age, with increased vaping being associated with increased exposure to nicotine for users. Increasingly powerful vaping devices and flavors have been introduced to the marketplace, making it possible for youth to become exposed to high levels of nicotine, without even realizing it.
Impact of vaping in schools has led to classroom disruptions and closures of bathrooms. Officials emphasize that nicotine can exacerbate mental distress and encourage parents to seek help and assistance for their children who may be vaping.
While Vermont Senator passed a bill to ban flavored tobacco and e-liquids in the state, the bill stalled in the house due to concerns about potential losses in tax revenue. However, vape advocates plan to continue their fight next season.